Letter to the editor

GW offers a flexible dining plan

I am writing in response to the article “The hidden costs of campus dining” (Feb. 4, p. 1), in which The Hatchet reported that J Street is unlikely to turn a profit.

The University has, over time, developed what we believe to be the most flexible university dining program in the country. The program offers both campus dining dollars and Colonial Cash, providing students with access to a variety of campus dining venues such as J Street, Pelham Commons, ZeBi and G-Dub Java and also the option to patronize eateries throughout Foggy Bottom and the District. The University constantly evaluates the balance of flexibility in the dining program with the goal of providing variety and quality on-campus offerings.

With regard to the concept of “hidden costs,” all business owners must take into account operating costs – such as rent, staffing and cost of goods and sales – when establishing prices. It is important to note that vendors are not permitted to charge a “tariff” for using the GWorld card. In addition, there is no direct correlation between locations that accept GWorld and those that charge higher prices.

For example, at Whole Foods Foggy Bottom – which accepts GWorld – the cost per pound for the hot food and salad bar at is the same as the Arlington, Va., location and even less than the P Street location. Neither of those locations accept GWorld. Similarly, the cost of a pita sandwich at Perfect Pita in The Shops at 2000 Penn is the same as other D.C. locations that do not partner with GWorld. This is also true for offerings at Sweetgreen and CVS.

There are many opinions about what constitutes the best dining plan. We consistently take into account these viewpoints as we continually review our plan. We will continue to work to create the best plan possible for our students while taking into account the desires for both flexibility and quality.

I encourage students to share comments and ideas on how to improve the dining program through engagement with the Student Dining Board or by completing a comment card, available at campus dining venues.

Alicia Knight is the Senior Associate Vice President for Operations.

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