Mention the words “meal zone” to a returning GW student. Most of them will grimace remembering the days when they had to scramble out of class at 3:15 p.m. to J Street to find out that the lunch meal zone had ended. Or the weeks when they realized Thursday that they had eight meals left for the week, but those meals would disappear forever, unused.
But students on the meal plan this fall will not have to plan their days around the meal zones. GW Dining Services has eliminated the meal zones and converted the meal plan to a campus-wide “declining debit” system. Students can actually eat at any point during the day. Hearty applause should go to the administrators who made this decision.
It gets better. Dining Services will also offer more choices in the meal plan. National brands such as Little Caesars, Subway, Taco Bell and Jamba Juice will be introduced onto campus. Thurston Dining Hall is going back to an all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner and the Hall on Virginia Avenue will have local chefs prepare menus.
The changes students will see this fall will be the most drastic since J Street opened. It is a positive step that Dining Services is aggressively trying to improve the quality of the meal plan.
Though students will see improvements this fall, administrators need to remember to constantly listen to student feedback in order to make changes which accurately reflect the needs of the students. Even though students will be able to use points, they need to remember to keep food prices competitive and the quality of service high.