Response to 'Required meal plans'

A recent article entitled “Should meal plans be required” presented an argument against the requirements for a meal plan. Students should be allowed to choose what plan they need, because they know their eating habits best. Some eat less meals a day than others or go home on the weekends and would need a plan with less meals. Due to my credit hours, I am required to buy either the unlimited meal membership or the 14 meal membership, but seldom eat in the cafeteria. It is irrational for college students to have to overpay for something unneeded. It is also unreasonable that the purchasing of plans is based on hours. If the concern was that freshman and sophomores were unable to access kitchens, then purchasing plans would be sensible. However, most dorms on campus are without kitchens, so determining the meal plans based on credit hours is unsupported.

Due to their lack of knowledge of the area, minimal requirements for freshman could still be held. Since they are new to campus, it would be reasonable to require them to buy a plan to make sure they had a place to eat. However, I would give freshman the choice between the unlimited meal plan and the 14 meal membership. As for upperclassmen, meal plan requirements should be waived. Upon returning to campus, students know what to expect from the Fresh Food Company and the food court. Students also have more knowledge of Macon and would be able to buy their own groceries and find food elsewhere.

Campuses elsewhere have a wide range of requirements for their students. Public universities such as the University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University remove the requirement of a meal plan. The University of Georgia offers two meal plans that students can choose to purchase. Georgia College and State University offers plans very similar to Mercer University. Students are allowed to purchase different types of plans with Cat Cash that allows them to have a select amount of meals in the cafeteria and money to use at food courts. However, the university lacks a requirement. Private universities such as Emory University and Shorter University do require students to buy a meal plan. Emory University has the same approach as Mercer. Students buy plans based on their hours. However, there is more of a variety of plans to choose from. Shorter University allows students to buy meal plans based on their living arrangements. For example, certain dormitories require a specific plan. As mentioned before, this requirement makes more sense. It is more reasonable to require a student to have a meal plan based on the availability of a kitchen rather than if they have certain credit hours. Overall, students should be allowed to choose whether they need a plan and which type they need.

Melissa Seward