In February 2023, the meal exchange at Quaker Steak and Lube was changed to 4 wings, fries and a drink instead of its usual 6 wings, fries and a drink. This sparked dialogue among students who wondered where exactly the money for their meal plan goes.
There are currently 4 meal plan options for students who live on campus. Students have the choice between a plan of 19 meals a week with $250 in flex money, and 10 or 14 meals a week with $350 in flex money. There is also an option for 175 meals per semester with $350 in flex. Off campus students are offered smaller, cheaper alternatives as well.
“Students can use their meal plan in many ways, ” Lisa Rodgers, General Manager at Boozel Dining Hall, said in an email statement. “A ‘meal swipe’ is used at Boozel…once a meal is used, they enter the dining hall and enjoy the ‘all you [can] eat’ dining. ‘Meal Exchange’ is exchanging this meal swipe for a pre-set meal at all the dining locations. ‘Meal Equivalency’ is a $6 credit towards the purchase of any meal.”
Students are allowed to use up to 6 meals each day. “One meal swipe only is allowed per transaction,” Rogers said.
While each dining location on campus offers a meal exchange or swipe option, they do not all allow meal equivalencies. Quaker Steak and Lube, Bento and the SSC Starbucks only accept flex funds or a pre-set exchange.
According to Rock Dining, a sector of Aramark that provides SRU’s food, “Flex funds are used like a gift card to purchase items ala carte at any food service location.”
The pre-set exchanges change each month at every dining location, aside from Boozel.
“Fall 2021 the meal exchanges were the same month to month throughout the semester.” Rodgers said, “However, we heard from students they…like them different to break up the monotony of the choices.”
Rodgers also said that the meal exchange schedule is planned out at the beginning of the semester, taking inspiration from feedback and popularity among students.
A popular meal exchange at SRU is the wings, fries and fountain drink combination from Quaker Steak and Lube.
Rodgers explained that the reduction of this exchange was due to “the cost of goods ever increasing”.
“[T]he price of chicken went up considerably,” Rodgers said, “…we decided to still make the meal exchange available, but with less boneless wings.”
“I like the 6 [wings] a lot better because you get more…” a student said when interviewed about the change, “but 4 [wings] is reasonable. It’s still good.”
However, not all students agree. An anonymous post on the app YikYak asked users how they feel about the topic.
“[W]hat adult person gets full from 4 wings?” one user wrote.