Lexikay Stokes, Campus Carrier Opinions Editor

As a junior, I am on the “Flex Bucks-only” meal plan. I have been quite diligent about budgeting my Flex Bucks and mainly preparing meals from my own kitchen. However, when I do run to Krannert to splurge and treat myself with a meal, I often get annoyed with the same three options I’ve had for the past three years.

The college from my home town uses their equivalent of Flex Bucks as a debit card of sorts to be used out in the city. Located close to downtown, students can use their student ID and their Flex Bucks to swipe and pay for their meals at restaurants downtown, even to buy a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop.

Although they have a student union which provides restaurants like our own, their Flex Bucks are not confined to campus, giving students a variety of options and an incentive to get off campus and into the town.

The severely limited places to spend Flex Bucks is restrictive and a waste of money for many. Students with dietary restrictions such as gluten, nut, or dairy allergies still must spend hundreds of dollars a year on a meal plan that does not provide a wide enough variety of options. Imagine the possibilities if you could swipe some of your Flex Bucks on Broad Street, spending your money more rationally and on things which you actually desire, and for many, can actually eat.

There isn’t a single meal plan offered by Berry that doesn’t require students to spend hundreds of dollars on Flex Bucks The lowest amount of Flex Bucks students are able to purchase is $150, and the highest is $415.

The problem here is not the requirement of Flex Bucks; Viking Court couldn’t operate if it didn’t have the steady income of student meal plans every year. However, the limited options of Viking Court make the requirement of spending hundreds of dollars on three restaurants, overpriced gas station snacks, and coffee a bit ridiculous.

Over the summer, Chick-Fil-A expanded to offer more options. I personally feel very blessed by this because in addition to fries and nugs, I can also buy milkshakes. However, Chick-Fil-A serves as a great example for how badly we desire change with our meal options. Chick-Fil-A renovating was probably one of the biggest things that has happened to Berry in the past couple of months, and it was one restaurant.

Imagine the fantastic chaos if we could spend our money on additional restaurants off campus. It would be anarchy, I’m almost positive.

By doing so, college and community bonds would be strengthened as students would be spending more time and money out in Rome.

Also, the rush of Viking Court between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., the scariest of times to brave for a sandwich and fries, would be alleviated. Not to mention the countless students who could actually buy a meal, with the money they are required to have, and not have to worry about their dietary restrictions.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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