By Brad Springman | Contributor
Baylor University needs to provide better on campus residential dining options for students who choose to stay on campus over holiday breaks.
Recently, many Baylor students traveled home to their families for the Easter holiday. But, many out-of-state students will stay on campus like they do for other smaller breaks like Labor Day, fall break and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Those who choose to stay are left with limited on-campus dining options with the meal plan they purchased for shorter breaks like Easter in mind.
I often stay on campus for breaks as I am from Pennsylvania and experience this difficulty. Dining options need to be improved over breaks for the students like me who choose to stay on campus. Students’ expectations are not met as the residential dining services on campus have limited, inconvenient hours for students during breaks.
Over Martin Luther King Jr. Day, all residential dining locations were closed except for Penland Dining Hall. This is an inconvenience as it limits the options students have to eat a healthy meal other than a burger, pizza or the other fast food-like options that are always available at Penland.
On Nov. 20, 2018, the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, there were no residential dining services open on campus past 2 p.m. This caused students like Idaho freshmen Grace Howell to have to eat out after she already bought a meal plan she was expecting to use.
“The dining halls closing for all of the majority of breaks single out those who aren’t able to make it home or eat out every meal,” Howell said. “Many freshmen don’t even have a car to get food from grocery stores, so they are limited to fast food that is within walking distance, and they are expected to have money to get it.”
Having to eat out adds up and is a cost that some college students can’t afford. Freshmen who live on campus are required to have a meal plan which costs between $2,500 and $3,000, depending on which plan students choose. Eating at a restaurant like Panera Bread, which parallels a healthy meal at a dining hall, costs on average $12 to $15 a meal.
“Baylor should have some sort of program that provides students with groceries or meals, so that students who aren’t able to go home for short holidays can eat without worry,” Howell said. “All students should have easy access to food.”
While it would not be cost effective to keep all residential dining locations open all breaks, they should be kept open for meals on the days right before a break starts. There also should be options kept open to provide healthy meals over shorter breaks, rather than just a few unhealthy options at Penland Dining Hall.
Brad is a freshman journalism major from Enola, Pa.