Students eating in the J on Aug. 24. (Taken by Sarah Paquette)
Students eating in the J on Aug. 24. (Taken by Sarah Paquette)

New dining plans for students and faculty

A look at the switch to meal-swipe-based dining plans from the old point-based plans.
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Humboldt State University is replacing the J-point-based meal plans with new meal-swipe-based plans.

HSU’s old plans had been around for over 20 years, but they’ve now switched providers to Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services. There are a total of 15 meal plans, including plans for on-campus residents, commuters, faculty, and staff.

“They are heavily invested in local products, local farmers and sustainable serving as well as sustainable disposable type things, trying to do more to help us on the campus,” Senior Director of Housing Operations and Auxiliary Services, Todd Larson, said.

According to Larson, Chartwells has brought HSU’s dining operation to the industry norm. Larson also said that meal plan costs have gone down by about $800 to $100 per person per year.

These new plans are a combination of all-you-can-eat meal swipes, meal exchanges, and flex dollars. Some student plans even include guest meals which some students used for their parents during move-in.

“You can eat all day long, you never run out of points and so it’s entirely solved that food insecurity issue for folks,” Larson said.

With J-points, students would pick out their food and pay for everything at the end but with this new system, students use a swipe to get in and it’s all you can eat.

Also new this year is the J will have Executive Chef, Lalica Mariano.

“We will be doing a lot more plant-based foods,” Mariano said. “Our projected cycle has a lot of variety featuring as many fresh products that we are able to get in the area.”

Alyson Ashamalla, a sophomore anthropology student at HSU, said that she does a lot of her own cooking at home because there were times in the past when there weren’t many meatless options to choose from at the J.

“I am hopeful that this year they will work to listen to student feedback and make the necessary changes to provide decent meals for all but we will see as time goes on throughout the year,” Ashamalla said.

Allison Hair, a second-year student at HSU, has similar opinions. Although she’s enjoyed dining at the depot, she feels that so far the J doesn’t have many options for vegans and vegetarians.

“We are hoping that they will expand the options since the J is one of the main places we can get food at this semester,” Hair said.

There’s also new technology, you can check your swipes, exchanges, and flex dollars and also add funds through the GET app. You can also pre-order food and items from several dining locations through the Boost: Mobile Food Ordering app. In addition, there’ll be a launch of a catering system for events and clubs in the future.

In the past, OhSnap would donate J-points to students if they were running low, Larson said that he is still working with OhSnap to create a swipe collection system to donate swipes to students who need them.

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