Are new pricy meal plans worth it?


Kelly Stiles

NOT CYMK – Meal plans are a constant source of contention for Henderson students.

Imagine, it’s lunchtime and you’re surveying your options. You don’t have time or maybe even the space to cook. Your only option is grabbing something on campus. You could go to the cafeteria–but you’d rather not have to look on in horror as the fries are gone in five seconds flat.


If you want to switch up your lunch plans, you could grab a bite at Reddie Grill or Chick-Fil-A. After three or four years of always getting a chicken sandwich with no pickles you could go for something else. Anything else.


If you’ve experienced this, don’t worry, you’re not alone–almost everyone on campus has experienced this in some variation or another. Next semester, however, may be a different story. Henderson is upping the price of their meal plans. Due to the costs, some people may find it cheaper to simply cook at home.


According to the website, students who live in residence halls must choose between the 19, 15 or 10 meals/weeks plans. On the other hand, students in apartments can choose any meal plan. Nevertheless they must have a plan. Students are allowed 1 swipe per meal period and 4 swipes per day total.


Students have mixed feelings when it comes to meal plans and the new prices. Karrington Shackelford, junior nursing major, believes Henderson should, “have a lower option meal plan for the students who don’t use a lot of DCB or eat in the cafeteria, and an option to not have a meal plan especially if you don’t eat on campus.”


Shackelford doesn’t have a meal plan this year. When she did, she rarely ate in the cafeteria unless she had to. Most of the time she only ate breakfast. A lot of students on campus have been in that same predicament.


Lack of food variety has left students feeling frustrated. “I feel like it is not fair because not everyone eats in the cafeteria and we are limited on places to eat with our DCB and eating the same thing constantly gets old and tiring.” Shackleford said. “I know that I waste money because I’m not always able to use up my DCB unless I’m buying friends food or Starbucks cups.”


Another issue is the time. Some sleep through breakfast or work through dinner. When you actually do have time to eat at the end of the day, say 9 pm, the cafeteria, Reddie Grill and Chick-Fil-A are all closed. The Caddo is open for three periods. Breakfast from 7 am to 9:30 am, lunch from 10:45 am to 1:30 pm, and dinner is from 4:45 pm to 7:30 pm.


7:30 seems pretty lenient, but if you have class, a work study job or sports practice, 7:30 can come and go before you know it.


If there was one thing she could change or implement into the meal plans, Shackleford thinks offering more diverse food is a good way, instead of “the same type of food that is rotated on different days.”


In addition to more “big changes” such as price, students are also seeing smaller changes being implemented. “I remember last year there was a time that I went to Caddo and didn’t like what they were serving so I went to reddie grill and did a meal exchange, but you can’t do that this year. I think the options for the meal plans are good.” Janae Hartman, a sophomore elementary education major said.


Although Hartman does eat in the Caddo everyday, she doesn’t think it’s fair that having a meal plan is a requirement to live on campus, “I dont think its fair that we have to have a meal plan because a lot of my friends cook their own food in their dorm rooms so they’re pretty much waste money on a meal plan.”
It all depends on your situation. If you just go to class, your dorm, and visit the library once in a blue moon, then paying the extra money may be the best fit for you. In a dorm, you don’t have access to cooking appliances aside from a microwave. Even with that, you can only make so many meals.


If you’re a busy student, the kind that goes to classes, sports practices, and club meetings all in one day you may decide to go to a cheaper plan. The best fit for you may be to purchase DCB or groceries to cook at home.


Whatever the case, make sure to change your meal plan whether that means purchasing a cheaper or more expensive one to ensure you can eat.