More Tuition Brings More Food: Meet the Unlimited Meal Plan – SGO Report, 4/17

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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.

This Sunday, SGO held its final full senate meeting of the school year. Dean Liz Braun, Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Brown, and Dining Services Director Linda McDougall also attended, brining some news about next year’s dining options.

New Meal Plans Starting Next Year

Braun and Brown announced the first phase of resolutions to various student life and dining concerns.

Starting next school year, students will be able to choose between four new meal plan options:

  1. Unlimited meal swipes and 300 points
  2. 270 meal swipes per semester and 500 points
  3. 225 meal swipes per semester and 700 points
  4. 160 meal swipes per semester and 900 points

The redesign of the new meal plan options were founded on student input and needs.

“One of the things we’ve heard, particularly from athletes, is to have an option of unlimited meal swipes. For example, if you have practice and you want to grab something on your way, and then before sharples closes, you can do that. The other thing that we’ve seen is that students would like more points than meal swipes. Instead of having weekly meal allocations, you would have semester meal allocations. For example, you would get 160 meals over the course of the semester instead of divided evenly weekly,” Brown said.

“What we heard from students is ‘we want more flexibility’. Food is very personal, how people want to eat and where and when, so [the new dining plan options] trying to incorporate that,” Braun added.

All three of the meal plans will cost the same, but allows for more flexibility. The meal plan restructuring did come at the expense of higher tuitions.

“There’s been a 3.5% increase in tuition, so we took basically all of that to remodelling dining on campus,” Brown said.

Braun said that the committee is continuing to work on improving student spaces.

“We don’t want students to think that [the dining plan change] is the only thing that we’re doing; this is an iterative process. There are several areas that are central to the student experience that we need to look at, such as the dining hall, the library, and the athletic facilities,” Braun said.

The administration and the dining committee is working on partnering with stores in the ville so that points may be used there.

Grab and Go Moves Permanently to Science Center

In the beginning of April, Dining Services launched two new dining pilot programs, including “to-go” meals at Sharples and moving Grab and Go meal locations at Science Center.

The Grab and Go meals will be moved to Science Center permanently next year.

“We have far more people doing grab and go now than before, and the math and science professors are happy to see that their students are eating, so we’re happy to see that it’s working. Because it’s so successful, we will continue this next year,” Brown said.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 P.M.

The minutes from the meeting can be found here:

Min Zhong

Min covers news regarding the Swarthmore Government Organization for The Daily Gazette. Min is interested in finance and anthropology, and any other topics that seek to understand how and why human beings make the choices they do. At Swarthmore, Min is involved in Swat Tank, and an investment club. Min only eats gala apples, shares a birthday date with John F. Kennedy, and is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar from Arlington, VA. Min enjoys reading in her free time, and prefers savory over sweet.


  1. The article says that all 3 meal plans will cost the same – is this a typo, or will unlimited meals cost extra?

    • Apologies for the ambiguity. The administrators didn’t specify whether the unlimited plan would cost more. However, meal plans 2 to 4 as listed in this article will cost the same.

  2. will the tuition raise be placed in board&food only? Otherwise people off-campus will have to bear the burden without any benefit.

  3. Food is a major part of the student experience. It’s great to see that Swarthmore listened to what students want from their meal plans.

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