Bhavya Sridhar says the University’s dining hall policies are forcing her to waste money. The LSA freshman said she is only able to use 10 or 11 meal credits of the 13 she pays for under her basic 13-meal per week plan.

Sridhar said that she has a hard time planning her week around the dining hall hours.

“I feel like the system is really manipulative,” she said.

University officials said they are aware of complaints like Sridhar’s and are planning a revision of on-campus meal plan choices to coincide with the fall 2008 opening of the new Hill Dining Center.

Christine Siegel, senior associate director of University Housing, said Residential Dining Services is studying the plans and has hired a consultant to work with Housing officials and students to examine the current meal credit system.

She said Residential Dining Services will begin seeking out students next week to participate in a series of focus groups with the consultant.

Over the past year, Residential Dining Services has made several changes to dining options as officials have tried to address some student concerns. The changes have not confronted the issue many students consider to be paramount – the high cost per meal, especially when some go unused.

LSA sophomore Sarah Billiu said her work and class schedule often conflicts with meal times.

“I’m paying all this money and I can’t even use it,” she said.

Housing officials say it’s student feedback like Billiu’s that they use to shape policy.

Housing Administrative Manager Larry Durst pointed to the unlimited meal plan as a result of discussion with students. For $320 more than the standard 13-meal per week plan, the new plan allows students to eat an unlimited number of meals each week and to swipe their cards as many times as they like during each mealtime.

“We’re really very serious about looking at the intricacies of what works and what doesn’t,” said Mike Lee, director of Residential Dining Services.

But Lee said that dramatically changing the available meal plans every year would be expensive.

After tabulating the results of a survey sent to students with meal plans, Residential Dining Services announced plans on Saturday to open the dining halls in East Quadrangle, South Quadrangle, Mary Markley and Bursley at 10:30 a.m. and close them at 2 p.m. starting this weekend. Previously, those dining halls operated from noon until 6 p.m.

The convenience stores operated by Dining Services will also begin accepting meal credits on Saturdays, but will open at 2 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. as before.

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