GW is considering changes to its mandatory dining program, but decisions will not be made until the University can assess the effects The Avenue complex will have on student dining.
Adjustments to the Sodexo dining program are in the works after student leaders advocated for changes over the past year. The often-criticized meal plan requires freshmen and sophomores to spend $700 and $250 per semester, respectively, at on-campus dining venues run by Sodexo, including J Street.
Robert Chernak, senior vice provost and senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said that a committee was established to discuss changes to J Street, including proposed changes to the amount of dining dollars students are required to spend at Sodexo venues.
“They’re also looking at other aspects of the financial part of the dining plan…the amounts of moneys that need to be devoted to J Street. I don’t know where they are in those conversations, but I know it’s being looked at,” Chernak said.
The dining dollars program was put into place to ensure Sodexo would make a profit at GW, after several years of coming up short.
Several other modifications to the structure and set-up of the café are also being discussed, Chernak said. The committee decided earlier this year to make changes to the layout of J Street over the summer, but no formal decisions have yet been made regarding changes to the dining plan.
Official decisions regarding the meal plan have been delayed due to uncertainties surrounding the opening of The Avenue, the apartment-business-restaurant complex across from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.
The complex will include several new dining options as well as a Whole Foods Market that will likely accept Colonial Cash.
“People sort of wanted to see the impact of [the Avenue] and get a better sense of traffic flow and student preference,” Chernak said. “Because there were so many unknowns, people ended up being too reluctant to make major changes.”
Nancy Haaga, director of GW’s Campus Support Services, reiterated Chernak’s words, emphasizing that no decisions have been made yet and future plans may be made even after the start of the fall semester.