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Skipping meals at the Hornets Nest: Worth the loss?

MealPlanCostMeal plans: everyone living in the dormitories must have one. 

But skipping even one meal in a semester could end up costing you more than you think. 

“I chose the all-access plan because… I can eat a lot,” said Rochelle Hosler, freshman elementary education major. “I wasn’t sure how much I was going to be eating a day.”

Meal plans range from $500 for commuting students to $1,700 for an all-access plan. The all-access meal plan allows a total of 20 meal exchanges for Hornet Express in addition to the option of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. 

Each meal skipped is a waste of $5.01 every time.

“If you didn’t want to eat a big meal, you could go in get a little breakfast first thing in the morning and go in later and kind of have a little snack. Come back at lunch and have a regular lunch,” said Kimberly Reyes, general manager of Sodexo and Dining Services. “You could, on the all-access, essentially come in three times in the morning and then come in and come back and have dinner again too.”

With a 15 block meal plan, missing a one meal in a week at the Hornets Nest can result a $6.90 deficit. 

“One thing students should be aware of is the exchanges for the semester,” said Greg Larson, assistant director of Business Affairs in the Memorial Union. “If you don’t want to eat in the Hornets Nest, you could eat in the HX (HornetExpress), Skyline or some other area. The all-access plan probably is not the plan for you. You might want to drop down the 15 so that you have a possibility of 15 exchanges for each week. It would reset weekly.”

The largest loss comes from missing one meal with a 10 block meal plan. A student would miss out on $8.75. If skipping meals or having a leftover meal at the end of the week becomes a habit, students have the option of changing their meal plan. The option to lower before next semester ends this Friday, Aug. 22.

“I’ll probably keep it (my meal plan) all year,” Hosler said.

If students take in the consideration of purchasing a meal plan to replace the one they already paid for, the option to upgrade to a bigger meal plan is available at the ID office in the Memorial Union at any time of the semester. To lower a meal plan, students need to wait until the new semester starts. 

“We work diligently on a daily and weekly basis to balance (the meal options) for all the different types of eaters that come in,” Reyes said.

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