by Shane Jarvie
I find it extremely redundant that Cypress residents are required to own an All Access meal plan. When I’ve asked school officials why they’re needed, they’ve just responded, “Cypress residents are required to have one of the All Access meal plans. Upperclassmen living areas that do not require a meal plan are College Creek and Campus Apartments, both of which have shared kitchen areas.”
I’m a junior who’s lived on campus for three years now, and Cypress has the best kitchen out of every residence hall I’ve seen. Yes, even better than the one in College Creek apartments. Having lived in College Creek apartments as a sophomore, I’ve found that Cypress has more counter space and many more cabinets for storage space. The Cypress kitchen has offered my suitemates and I enough room and resources to cook for 20+ people once a week for Cypress eighth floor’s “family dinners,” where both sides of the floor come together for a weekly feast.
A suite on Cypress can house up to twelve students, so I’d understand if we were required to have a meal plan due to the number of suitemates who share the kitchen. However, I can’t understand why we’re required to have an All Access meal plan.
As a student working in the housing department as a Resident Student Services Assistant, I’ve had the opportunity to study each housing option and meal plan that the school offers. The more I learn, the less it makes sense that Cypress suites require an All Access meal plan.
For anyone who isn’t aware how the on-campus meal plan system works, here’s a quote directly from the Meal Plans page on our campus housing website: “All living areas require a meal plan except College Creek and Campus Apartments. Residents of the Hill, Canyon, Cypress and Creekview Suites are required to have one of the All Access meal plans. Residents of Creekview Apartments are required to have any one of the meal plans.”
The cheapest All Access meal plan is the 5-day All Access plan. It’s $5,000 per academic year, and contains all access meals to the J five days a week, including 300 Flex dollars and 66 or 62 meal exchanges per semester. (The housing website says 66, the dining website says 62.)
One of the alternative meal plans that I’ll be using as a comparison is the Lumberjack 125. This meal plan that Cypress residents don’t have access to costs $3,500 per academic year, provides 125 meals in the J (which is honestly still more than enough J food for me), has 525 flex dollars, and 31 meal exchanges per semester.
As someone who isn’t impressed with the food that Chartwells has to offer at the J, I’d much rather have the Lumberjack 125, which has 225 more flex dollars and costs $1,500 less per year!
If I can’t convince school officials that Cypress residents should have access to the other meal plans available, I at least want an adequate answer to why we shouldn’t.
Just an update to this story. Housing will be modifying the meal plan requirements for Cypress Hall for Fall 22 to only require one of the Lumberjack smaller meal plans.