Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
When we posed this question to Director of Dining Services Linda McDougall, she explained that “the meal equivalency was set up to replace an ‘occasional meal’ at Essie Mae’s when a student’s schedule would interfere with them eating their meal at Sharples.” Although many people use their meal equivalency to stock up on Red Bull and potato chips, that was never its intended use.
If the policy were changed, one of the concerns is that too many students would try to use the coffee bars for meals, and the coffee bars would quickly run out of food–as McDougall wrote, “the design of the coffee bars does not allow the space, prep area or equipment to provide the amount of food necessary to provide for meal equivalencies.”
Now you know–but do you know how much Red Bull you can consume before it becomes dangerous? Ask the Gazette at dailygazette [at] swarthmore [dot] edu.