Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) and Sodexo are implementing a new meal plan next fall as a trial period in preparation for the renovations to be introduced to Wooster Science Building.
The Jazzman’s Cafe in Jacobson Faculty Tower (JFT) will undergo changes over the summer. According to CAS Board Student Representative Jonathan Freifeld, the redone cafe will have three lines instead of the one wrap around line currently used. Students will also be able to have any sandwich or panini heated up and there will be more salad options as well. These new additions are key factors to the upcoming “Simply To Go” meal plan.
This meal plan will replace both the 45 and 65 Hasbrouck meal plans. The “Simply To Go” plan will allot students five meals per week to be used at Jazzman’s or Hasbrouck along with about 1,070 dining dollars.
If students decide to take a meal at Jazzman’s, they will receive a sandwich or salad, a snack, a piece of fruit, a dessert and a beverage all for one swipe. The only option that will remain the same is the Carte Blanche unlimited Hasbrouck meal plan.
The idea for this plan came about in an effort to suit students needs.
“The most important was we have for the longest time been trying to add more value to the upperclassmen meal plans, to be able to give an option to eat other than Hasbrouck with these meals,” said CAS Director Steve Deutsch. “So we needed to sort of create a brand new system that would spread some of the traffic between Hasbrouck and a facility we’re building on the west side of campus [Wooster].”
However, Wooster, which will feature a Panera Bread style dining facility, will not be completed for another two or three years. They decided to offer the meal plan at the JFT Jazzman’s to ensure that the program is successful and that students are happy with it.
To determine student’s desires and needs, Sodexo conducted a survey nearly two years ago. The survey asked a variety of questions such as when students eat meals, where they take their meals, how far are they willing to walk, if they eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, how much are they’re willing to spend and how much are they’re currently spending.
Based upon the answers to these questions and others, CAS members said they were able to understand how people thought about and ate food in a campus environment. They said they gathered that the main things students wanted were flexibility, portability and brands.
CAS needed to collect this type of information and develop a meal plan before they could open Wooster. They had to satisfy the needs for brands and the ability to use the meal plan all throughout campus. They were also challenged by the need for a retail environment where faculty and students who were not on major meal plans could pay cash for individual items, but where students could also use a meal.
“It is sort of a hybrid of all these different major desires that students said they had and we had to solve it with this one small facility,” Deutsch said.
Another benefit of the new option is that students are getting more meals, said Deutsch. The total amount of meals comes out to 80 for the entire semester and the five per week dispersement of meals lessens the stress of budgeting. Having to use your block of 65 meals all at Hasbrouck “is a lot more cumbersome to deal with.”
First-year undeclared student Faiqa Amreen greets the new meal plan with open arms.
“I think that the new meal plan is a perfect idea. The opportunities for a new variety of food will come as a relief to both freshmen and upperclassmen,” Amreen said. “I would be concerned that there wasn’t enough meals for a week, and think that seven meals a week would be a better idea, but hey. At this point, a relief from Hasbrouck is well welcomed.”
Deutsch said the plan has garnered many other encouraging responses too, as they have presented the plan to many groups such as the CAS board and the cabinet.
“We’ve had a bunch of meetings with people both formally and informally to gage and this really has gotten a lot of positive feedback,” Deutsch said. “So we’re excited about it. I think it’s going to improve food service here quite a bit.”