Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and Face the Strange!

Matt DiGiovanni

In last week’s issue of The Charger Bulletin, “The Charger Battery” included a mention of a change in the rules about meal plans. At the time, it was from a reputable source, but now it has been officially announced; there will be changes to meal plans and additionally, to some parts of the room selection process.

Starting with the meal plan changes, I know some people won’t be happy, but if you are living in Soundview Hall or Forest Hills next year, unlike this year, you will be required to get a meal plan. However, the one exception to this rule is for anyone who did not have a meal plan for fall semester 2010. If you did not have a meal plan this past fall, you will be “grandfathered in” and will not be required to purchase a meal plan. The reasoning behind this change is that for a school the size of UNH, we have a lot of options for on campus food. We can enjoy the food at the dining hall in Bartels, food of the flatbread variety from Sandellas, burgers and the like from Grill 155, pizza and pasta from Pandini’s, and coffee house favorites at the two Jazzmans locations. On top of all that, we have the C-store for some of the little necessities.

At last Thursday’s USGA meeting, Nicole McGrath from ORL explained that in order to keep/improve the quality of food and life here at UNH, an on campus community needs to be fostered, and one way to do this is through the dining hall as it is a location where students congregate. Personally, I think that the problem isn’t the requirement of meal plans, but the somewhat small selection of food available at the C-store for students who have stoves and ovens and would like to make their own food. I know it’s not feasible to have an on campus grocery store, but the selection of food should cater to both students who want to cook in their rooms and those who do not have kitchens.

The other change being made to meal plans is the change of meal plan A to an unlimited plan and the elimination of meal plan C. The “Charger Unlimited” plan offers 14 meals per week and $500.00 dining dollars, but starting next semester (Fall 2011), if students swipe their card in one location during breakfast, brunch or dinner, they will be able to take their receipt to any other location and get more food with no additional dining dollars being used. For those of you who don’t know, plan C offered five meals per week and $825.00 dining dollars per semester. The decision to eliminate this plan was made due to its lack of popularity compared to other meal plans and because plan D is similar, offering 75 meals per semester and $800.00 dining dollars. Hopefully students who just couldn’t get enough food with the old plan A will be happy with the unlimited plan and students who used to enjoy the five meals per week of C will be fine with a transition to plan D.

The change to the housing selection process is relatively simple, so hopefully everyone makes it through without a hitch! First, every student participating in room selection will only receive one lottery number, unlike last year where some students were confused by multiple lottery numbers. Next, all room selection will be online since students also gave feedback that filling out forms to apply for Soundview Hall was tricky combined with the other room selection options being online. Everyone is supposed to receive their room selection numbers this week, so keep an eye out for that email. Following that, the selection process begins the week of March 7th, so make sure you have your roommates picked out by then! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to visit the Office of Residential Life in Bixler Hall; they are happy to help!

Good luck with room selection and have a great week. Since this is the last paper prior to spring break, I hope everyone has a happy and safe break!