Campus Dining increases meal plans requirements for on-campus students for 2019-2020

Changes to campus dining next year include requirements for on-campus students to purchase meal plans; Highland Munchie and Kissam renovations scheduled for this summer


Vanderbilt’s student center. (Hustler Multimedia)

Emma Mattson, Assistant Campus Editor

Meal plan requirements will increase for all upperclassmen living on-campus in Fall 2019.

In past years, seniors could choose not to select any meal plan; in the coming year, on-campus seniors must purchase at least an 8-meal plan. Likewise, juniors must purchase at least a 14-meal plan and sophomores must purchase at least a 19-meal plan. First-years will continue on the 21-meal plan. The cost of all plans increased 4.5% compared to last year, according to Executive Director of Campus Dining David ter Kuile.

Off-campus students are not subject to specific requirements, but they may purchase flex meal bundles or an 8, 14, or 19-meal plan.

Additional changes include the elimination of rollover and meal periods, the addition of $50 meal money to each plan, and the addition of five Guest meals. Finally, while in the past, students living in residential colleges like Kissam were required to purchase at least a 12-meal plan, residential colleges will no longer have specific meal plan requirements.

Besides the meal plans updates, various dining locations will undergo renovations this summer. The Highland Munchie Mart will be fully renovated to install a full hot and cold bar, ter Kuile said. The munchie mart will close down a week early at the end of this semester to accommodate construction, which is scheduled to run from May to August.

Renovations to Kissam will encourage dine-in eating in the great rooms, ter Kuile said. Dining tables and chairs will replace 100 percent of the current seating in the Warren Great Room and 50 percent in the Moore Great Room. A dish room will be added, allowing the use of dine-in plates and utensils, ter Kuile said.

These changes are the result of months-long discussion between Dining Services, the Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Financial Aid, and leadership from Residential Colleges, ter Kuile said.

“The meal plans for next year were designed to ensure alignment with the Residential College experience, as well as helping to address food insecurity issues with on-campus students,” ter Kuile wrote in an email to the Hustler.

Not all students agree with ter Kuile, however. Junior Kaelyn Dwyer, currently on the 8-meal plan, lauded the elimination of meal periods but not the increased number of meals.

“I cook a lot, so sometimes I don’t even use eight swipes. I’ll just go to munchie and use the rest of them when I can– which is why I wanted to not have a meal plan next year,” Dwyer said. “I feel like when I have a full kitchen I don’t need to use eight swipes a week.”

Vanderbilt’s Financial Aid Office will factor the updated price 21-meal plan into their estimated cost of attendance, Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid Brent Tener said. The entirety of the effect of the policy on student financial aid will become clearer after the policy is implemented next year.