When students go to the dining hall, they are not bound by swipes or the amount of meals they eat per day, only by the days of the week they go. They have access to food as many times a day, week, month, or quarter as they please.
This will change, however, as the 2022-2023 school year begins.
UC Santa Cruz is ridding itself of the five and seven-day meal plans in exchange for the new Slug Points Meal Plan.
With a Gold Meal Plan, a student would have access to 1,689.12 Slug Points per quarter, roughly averaging 18 meals per week, or 2.6 per day, if the student did not use their points at other university dining locations. The Blue Meal Plan would consist of 1,446.93 points per quarter, roughly 15 meals per week or about two per day, again, exclusively counting when they are eating in dining halls.
Slug Points would also be valid forms of payment across all sites operated by UCSC Dining, such as on-campus markets, Perk Coffee Bars, and cafes. As they get used across on-campus dining, they dwindle until they are automatically reloaded at the start of every quarter.
When asked what students would tell administrators making this decision, most, if not all, responses can be best summarized by first-year Christian Alvarez — “Don’t do it.”
At an SUA Assembly meeting held on April 26, UCSC Executive Director of Dining Services Bill Prime, and Chief of Staff to Associate Vice Chancellor Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services Jim Grove, attended to explain how meal plans would work next academic year and respond to questions and concerns from students.
“If our data shows us that people are eating 2.5 meals, it suggests that they’re either skipping meals or they’re not eating meals even on the plan,” Grove said in response to a student’s concern about limited food under the new plan. “Okay, you’re not gonna eat all three meals that you paid for? How about you pay for the two and a half meals you want?”
As the discussion went on, students chimed in with their concerns about the plan. Some brought up food insecurity and eating disorders, while others cited the lack of student input on the plan.
“We simply did not have the time to [gather student input] in order to announce our budget for 2023. We needed to move like lightning to develop this plan,” said Grove. “I will personally apologize that we weren’t quicker in reaching out to you, getting in front of you, alerting you to and educating you about the change that is coming.”
Students still feel the process puts them outside of the administration’s decision making, feeling as if the meal plan change does not have students’ best interests at heart.
“It’s hella twisted,” said first-year student Alexander Curran after hearing the news. “I feel like it’s a way for the university to increase their profits at the expense of the well-being of their students.”
This article was published as a part of a City on a Hill Press back-log, and was originally written in the week of April 24.