Students question need for a mandated meal plan

Huden is a common stomping ground for every student who has ever lived on this campus. Whether students love the dining hall or feel forced to go there, almost every on-campus student has eaten there at some point in time. This dining experience comes with a price. But how does one know that they’re getting their money’s worth?

“I think I spend maybe $100 a month on food and a meal plan is at least three times that,” said CSC senior Meredith Pope.

Pope, an off-campus student, said moving off campus reduced her food budget by more than half.

The Castleton meal plan currently costs on-campus students $1,518 a semester for the typical plan. As of now, on-campus students are required to purchase meal plans as part of the school’s room and board package.

“I think that it is ridiculous that meal plans are required,” Pope said. “But I understand why [the school] requires it. Because if they did not, then no one would buy it and they would not make money.”
Castleton Dean of Students Gregory Stone said the plan was designed for other reasons.

“The idea behind the meal plan is to give folks the opportunity to not worry about feeding themselves and cleaning up,” Stone said. “It leaves them time for other things. We want them to have as much time as possible to learn and grow on this campus.”

The meal plan is seen as a package deal. The remaining money that is not used to pay the dining services and building costs is put toward the residence halls, in an attempt to keep them as nice as possible, Stone said.

“It’s not like we are funding the football team with that money,” said Stone with a chuckle.

Currently the administration is not completely opposed to making exceptions to the requirement on a student-to-student basis. However, they occur very rarely.
Students on campus don’t seem to have the same feeling that the administration has about meal plans.

“I have no idea how much money I spend on a meal plan, but I go there about two times a day, all depending on whether (the food) is bothering my stomach from the day before,” said freshman Graham Monroe.

“We should be able to choose,” freshman Brittany Winslow said. “I have a meal plan and I’ve been to Huden three times this semester. I’m considering living off-campus just so I don’t have to have a meal plan.”

“I shouldn’t be paying that much for rotten fruit and overcooked chicken,” Winslow said. “I can do better with a microwave and that’s not saying much.

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