COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Responding to student concerns, Interim Texas A&M University President Mark Hussey has announced termination of a requirement that would have led to all students living in on-campus housing being required to purchase meal plans for use in campus dining facilities. Rather, effective with the start of the 2014 fall semester, many students will have the option of whether to purchase such plans, and all students will gain greater flexibility in purchasing meal plans — with a promise for higher-quality food.
Hussey and other top university officials worked out the new agreement with top administrators at Chartwells, a division of Compass Group, which assumed responsibilities for most campus dining facilities two years ago.
Hussey worked closely with student leaders, including Student Body President Reid Joseph and others in the Student Government Association and the Resident Hall Association, meeting with them on multiple occasions.
“I want to thank our student leaders, our administration and Chartwells for working together to develop a dining plan for next year,” Hussey said. “When we started my goal was to finalize a dining plan for the 2014-15 academic year that addressed many of the concerns that the students had. I think we all feel that this plan is a good compromise.”
Joseph, who has served as student body president for the past year, joined in expressing satisfaction with the outcome.
“We are extremely grateful for the hard work that Student Government, the Residence Hall Association, the Corps of Cadets, the Memorial Student Center, the Graduate Student Council, Chartwells and Dr. Hussey have put into this negotiation process,” Joseph said. “Next year’s students will receive higher quality, service and flexibility, as well as more options with their meal plans.”
Currently, all freshmen and sophomores who live on campus are required to purchase meal plans and that requirement was to have been expanded to include juniors and seniors.
Under the new agreement, only freshmen living on campus and members of the Corps of Cadets will be required to participate in one of the dining options, officials noted. Corps members have always been required to purchase meal plans because of the distinct environment that is part of their regular routine.
The freshmen will now be able to choose between five different meal-plan options, and the cadets between two different plans. Detailed information regarding the 2014-2015 dining plans can be found here.
Although the new plans do not go into effect until the start of the fall semester, students are now able to actually purchase the plans if they so desire.
“Chartwells is pleased to join in sharing the finalized 2014-2015 dining plans with the Texas A&M community,” said Gina Capetanakis, marketing manager for Chartwells at Texas A&M University.
“These dining plans are representative of community feedback, including over 5,200 student responses received in the fall 2013 “We’re Listening” survey, as well as discussions with key student leadership and University stakeholders.”
Hussey said the agreement is part of an on-going partnership with Chartwells to enhance the quality of food served and the overall service—including infrastructure upgrades and possibly opening more eateries and extending hours of service at various facilities.
With the continuing mandates for freshmen and cadets to purchase meal plans, the new agreement will help financially position Chartwells to fund much-needed enhancements at campus dining facilities and address related needs, officials said.
“The Chartwells team is excited for the renovation projects slated for this summer at Sbisa, the Underground Food Court, the Grill at the Pavilion, and Poor Yorick’s. The Sbisa renovation will introduce Chartwells’ Pulse on Dining platform, bringing cooking and service stations out into the dining room; the Underground Food Court renovation will include a full-menu Chick-fil-A; and the retail space adjacent to Einstein Brothers Bagels will introduce Smashburger and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill to campus. The Grill at the Pavilion will be upgraded, and Poor Yorick’s will be transformed into Starbucks."