On-campus dining -- what an awful experience. Last year as a freshman, I was looking at my $995, often referred to as monopoly money, wondering how quickly I'd use it over the semester. So I did my math and came up with a budget of about nine dollars a day. Well, as I quickly found out, that wasn't going to last. One meal at Chicken Grill and my daily budget was essentially gone, a common complaint by most people in my dorm. Why is the food so expensive? We are already paying crazy amounts for the subpar living conditions most freshmen are subject to, such as the Hill, and the last thing we need to worry about is needing money for food. One personal pizza at Papa Johns is more expensive than if I walked across campus to the Dominos, where I can get an entire medium pizza for five dollars. I'm sure many people would favor a deal like that on campus. Lets not even get started on the inflated prices in the convenience stores in places such as the Student Center and Terrell Dining Hall.
Another gripe I have about the campus dining is the availability. I know you freshmen out there have noticed that eating on campus during the weekends is a difficult task. After football season, it almost seems like there will never be anything open on the weekends besides Panda Express on Sundays, and even then you could trek across campus to see a "Sorry, we're closed!" sign on the doors. Never have I felt more devastation.
None of this would matter as much if I were able to opt out of the meal plan and instead put that money to buying groceries to cook myself. Since moving off campus and having a readily available kitchen, buying a week's worth of food runs me less than seventy dollars. Four meals a day, seven days a week for $70. Compare this to approximately eight dollars for one meal on campus.
Solutions? Being from out of state, I hear my friends talk about their meal plans, and it sounds ideal. For the same $995, they get 3 swipes that can be used anywhere on campus, and once you've swiped in, you eat until you're full. Then, if you want, they still offer options similar to Auburn where you pay for individual meals with a swipe. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Auburn is still the Loveliest Village on the Plains, but lets review our dining plan. It's for the better.
Kenny Moss is a photographer with The Plainsman. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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