Tag Archive: campus dining

Monopoly: UNK Edition (Delux)

Monopoly is a fun game that comes in a variety of versions, such as Star Wars, Pokemon, Batman and Robin, Bible, and Family Guy. At UNK we have our own edition of the game, except we traded the Parker Brothers for Chartwells.

In Monopoly: UNK Edition the game is food on campus and Chartwells holds all the properties. By contract, no organization, or class can bring outside food for an event on campus without Chartwells approval. Donated and home cooked food is excluded by the ban.

Groups are expected to have Chartwells provide food for events. Not only is the catering below par, but the price tag is excessive. Complaints aren’t hard to find if you ask around campus, and neither are rule breakers.

Whether it’s pizza in class or snacks for an organization’s meeting, people all over campus are breaking the rule. Others avoid it. A few years ago high school students from across the state flocked to UNK for SIFE’s (Students in Free Enterprise) New Venture Adventure and Little Caeser’s offered to donate pizzas. The donation saved a fair amount of money, but couldn’t be eaten on campus. At lunch time the enterprising young students marched across campus to a church across the street and ate there.

New Venture Adventure hosted hundreds of high school students on the Kearney campus, providing UNK with a great recruiting opportunity. But campus policies punish SIFE by forcing the organization to waste its budget, which does not exceed $2,000 annually according to former student body president Cade Craig, on food. Between paying for regular expenses, events and trips student organization budgets are stretched thin. Blocking donations and forcing organizations to buy expensive food only reduces the number of events organizations can host.

Price differences might seem small, but for big events prices can fluctuate greatly. For example, if Little Caeser’s donated 50 pizzas SIFE’s bill would be about $0. A Chartwells pizza costs between $9.95 and $11.95 according to the company’s website. That means a lunch tab of between $497.50 and $597.50. Chartwells’ bill is far too high for an unnecessary expense. Even if SIFE purchased the Little Caesar’s pizzas at $6 a piece, lunch would only cost around $300. That’s a savings of $197.50 to $297.50.

As any good entrepreneur knows, spending approximately 25 percent of the budget on one lunch is a recipe for failure. At best the campus food monopoly forces students to break the rule; at worst it could limit the activities of student organizations.

University policies shouldn’t force students to take a hike. The monopoly over food on campus has led to sub-par food at high prices, forcing the campus community to break or avoid the rule. When the new food service contract is negotiated this year the university should let this monopoly go bankrupt.


Taste test

Every college student knows the great thing about multiple choice tests is that the right answer is always right there on the page. Unfortunately for UNK students the campus meal plan options don’t offer much in the mold of a right answer.

Students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan and are only given two options. The first is 15 meals a week for $1,749, and the second offers 21 meals a week for $1,783. Both choices cost more than $100 a week. With only $34 difference between the plans it makes little sense not to spend the extra money and opt for the 21 meal plan, even though it is close to impossible not to waste some meals.

On campus students aren’t the only ones left with no real options. Those living off campus have no reason to buy a meal plan. The task of even attempting to eat 15 meals a week on campus is as daunting as the price tag for students who are likely working in addition to attending classes. Beyond the semester-long plans, the price of individual meals is too high. For the same price students can eat a meal at a decent restaurant in town.

If the university would like to bring in more money through campus dining, it should create a more flexible meal plan, for less money and fewer meals. Such a move would give off campus residents a reason to buy in to campus dining.

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