Meal plans and dining halls are changing for all Kent State students starting in Fall 2018.
An announcement on the Kent State website outlined a new system in which most on-campus students would swipe their FlashCards going into the main cafeterias to pay for all of their food.
Currently, students use a system similar to a debit card, where they pay for each item individually.
The prices for the new meal plans are expected to be determined, along with freezing the cost of room and board, at the next Board of Trustees meeting in March.
Jeff Stone, the director of University Dining Services, said the new plans are popular with students at other universities because of their flexibility and convenience.
“We want to make dining as free and easy as possible,” Stone said.
Stone said the new meals plans give students the ability to eat more on campus without worrying about measuring the amount they have left on their plan.
Current students will now choose from all-access meal plans, block meal plans as well as the Flex plan for upperclassmen.
The block-out hours for commuters in the HUB from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be removed in the fall semester.
The new meal plans will include varying forms of meal swipes, declining balances and meal exchanges.
Meal swipes allow access to the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls at the Eastway Fresh Food Company, Kent Market 2 and Prentice Hall. In order to gain access to the dining halls, students can use a swipe loaded on their FLASHcard. Students can also use their declining balance, cash or credit to pay the door rate and enter into the dining halls.
The all-access meal plans provide unlimited swipes and also allow for a specific number of guests in the dining halls. The guest swipes are loaded directly onto the students’ FlashCards.
Meal exchanges allow students to redeem a certain amount of meal swipes per day at Rosie’s Diner and the George T. Simon III Cafe in the College of Architecture & Environmental Design.
Declining balances will work like a debit card. They can be used toward campus markets such as the the HUB and Starbucks.
Incoming freshmen will be given the option of the blue and gold meal plans, which are all-access plans that include unlimited meal swipes, meal exchanges and a set declining balance.
Sophomores will also have the all-access options and a block meal plan which has limited swipes, meal exchanges and a set declining balance.
Upperclassmen will have all-access options, additional block meal plans, each with a different amount of swipes put on the FlashCard, and the flex plan as well, which will only have a declining balance. Students with the flex plan would not be able to eat at Eastway, Prentice and Kent Market 2.
Aramark also plans major changes in the dining halls, which will be renovated over the summer. Stone said they are transitioning and enhancing the dining halls.
Eastway will be completely changed and named the Eastway Fresh Food Company. Stone said it will include a vegan and vegetarian station, produce market and deli.
The food will be prepared out in front of students, rather than behind doors.
“We are bringing the kitchen out from behind the wall,” Stone said.
Prentice and Kent Market 2 will also be renovated and remodeled. Stone said it will allow more students to go in and out of the locations.
As part of its contract with Kent State, Aramark is investing $20 million into upgrading the dining facilities.
Laina Yost is an administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected]
“Current students will now choose from all-access meal plans, block meal plans and declining balance plans as well as a flex plan for upperclassmen.” has been changed to “Current students will now choose from all-access meal plans, block meal plans as well as the Flex plan for upperclassmen.” for clarity.
“In order to gain access to the dining halls, students must use a swipe loaded on their FlashCard to gain access.” has been corrected to “Students can also use their declining balance, cash or credit to pay the door rate and enter into the dining halls.”In the original article, Eastway Fresh Food Company was written as Eastway Fresh Food Market.