Meal plan enrollment decreases during Spring Semester
Chelsea Langevin – Senior reporter. As tuition rates climb annually, students are finding ways to cut costs. Some change schools or waive basic Linfield services, such as health insurance and even the meal plan.
This spring, 86 students who were registered for the meal plan during Fall Semester opted out for personal or financial reasons, a 9-percent decrease, Executive Secretary of Student services Kelly Bowe said.
Bill Masullo, general manager of student dining services, said it is typical for students to drop the meal plan in Spring Semester because they believe it is less expensive. Other leave Linfield or move to suburb housing.
“There’s always a big delta between fall and spring,” Masullo said.
However, 252 students removed themselves from the standard plan, to a light, mini or super plan instead, a 32-percent decrease in students on the standard plan.
International students also affect the number of meal plan registrations, as many only stay for Fall Semester.
Of the visiting students who were registered for the meal plan last fall, 34 percent left before Spring Semester, Marie Schmitt, international programs assistant, said.
Each year varies, but dining services uses historical data to project how much food to prepare on any given day. This data, combined with the quarterly reports of students on the meal plan, provides the cooks with enough information to make educated guesses on quantity, Masullo said.
To meet the demand, the cooks prepare food given their estimated projections from historical data. Then, they prepare more as
“It’s a much better product when you’re cooking something to flow,” Massulo said.
Executive Chef Noah Bekofsky knows firsthand how to interpret the data to prepare for meals on any given day. Bekofsky said he looks at how many students are on the meal plan and how much food they took from each station on that day last year.
But it is mostly educated guessing, he said.
“Not all estimated 1,000 students are going to eat dinner in the dining hall Monday through Friday,” Bekofsky said.
External factors such as campus events, weather conditions and weekdays influence whether students on the meal plan will make it to the dining hall, he said.For Masullo, it is a simple trend.
“We make less food in the spring,” he said.