On-the-GO! has been one of the perks of having a meal plan for students since 2003, when Earhart Dining Court was constructed. However, the rules are changing this year, and some aren’t happy about it.
Previously, one meal swipe could get four sides, which include items such as carrots, chips, bagels and candy bars. Now, the rules are more complicated, including several options that combine sides, entrées and fountain drinks. With the new rules, a student can get a maximum of three sides with a swipe.
Anna Jurgonski, a sophomore in the College of Science, said she just recently found out about the change.
“It’s really annoying when I want to stock up on snacks,” she said.
An employee working at an On-the-GO! location summarized student’s complaints.
“(The students) have given away almost a quarter of the value of one swipe,” he said. “The (upperclassmen) feel ... they should have been told of this change before they bought their meal plan.”
He grabbed a comment card from a large stack near the cash register and said that students “(have) been filling these out like crazy.”
Despite the frustration among staff and students, Kathy Manwaring, director of dining operations, explained that On-the-GO! was never meant to be a place to collect snacks for later.
“Students were using On-the-GO! as a place to just swipe out and get snacks,” Manwaring said. “That’s not really what it was intended for. It was intended as a meal replacement.”
Along with the changes in the swipe rules, Manwaring’s department is working on incorporating a more diverse selection of food options for students, including more upscale choices, allergen-free foods and snack bags, which contain several smaller items.
The decision to make this switch was heavily influenced by the department’s student dining advisory group, which consists of about 50 volunteer students, according to Manwaring.
“That started ... in February, and that was a monthly discussion,” Manwaring said.
In response to the complaints about not notifying upperclassmen of the changes, Manwaring said that “by the time (the students) started signing up for the meal plans, we didn’t have all the details worked out. We couldn’t have given them the complete picture of what that would look like at the time.”