Students who live on campus will receive meal plans with unlimited swipes for the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls next semester.
The plan will allow students to visit Kinsolving Dining and Jester 2nd Floor Dining as many times as they wish during operating hours. Dining director Rene Rodriguez said the plan is meant to reduce food insecurity.
“We do surveys with our students and things like that, and one of the biggest issues … was that our students — our resident students — were telling us that they were running out of money,” Rodriguez said. “They didn’t have enough money to eat all year long. We did feel that our meal plan did not address three meals a day, seven days a week.”
In an email, Rodriguez said the new meal plan “is covered through University Housing and Dining redirected funds.”
In addition to unlimited swipes, on-campus students will be given 300 Dine in Dollars each semester and 200 Bevo Bucks. This year, students received 1800 Dine in Dollars and 200 Bevo Bucks.
“(I struggle with) the Bevo Bucks more, but the Dine in Dollars I feel like there’s … enough,” biology sophomore Mariela Villarreal. “Toward the end of the semester, it gets a little (more difficult).”
Students living off campus will be able to purchase an unlimited meal plan for $2,850. Currently, off-campus students can buy the Longhorn 25 plan, which costs $225 and offers 25 meals in Kinsolving and J2 and $25 flex dollars for à la carte locations, or the Longhorn 50 plan, which costs $400 and offers 50 meals in Kinsolving and J2 and $50 flex dollars for à la carte locations.
“I am currently not living on campus, so I’m using a commuter meal plan,” vocal performance sophomore Nicholas Ryland said. “Unfortunately, on Friday, I ran low on swipes at J2 Dining. What I’m really looking forward (to) the most with this unlimited plan is I can just go whenever, and I won’t have to be restricted to a plan (where) I have a certain number of swipes.”
The new meal plan will also bring changed operating hours to the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls next year. Jester 2nd Floor Dining and Kinsolving Dining will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“Breakfast will be what we’re calling an ‘enhanced continental breakfast,’” Rodriguez said. “It’s not going to be a full-blown breakfast, but we will have a couple of hot items and coffee, pastries … because most students are kind of in a hurry.”
Rodriguez said the increased hours will “benefit the whole operation” because more students will be able to apply for jobs and part-time staff will have the chance to seek full-time positions.
“We’re going to have to hire a lot more employees, there’s no doubt about it,” Rodriguez said. “With extended hours … we have a campaign to increase the number of our employees. But it also opens up an opportunity for us to hire more student employees.”