Students discussed their concerns about new meal plan policies with Neilson on Thursday. (Kelcie Hartley | The Poly Post)

Dining Services responds to meal plan confusion

Students have called out for changes to be made to meal plan options and the Foundation Dining Services are finally answering. 

A meeting took place on Sept. 19 in the Blue Room at Los Olivos, which included Zachary Deigert, a third-year computer information systems student, and Brandon Melson, a second-year political science student, to meet with Dining Services Director Aaron Neilson. The goal of this meeting was to discuss the meal plan issues head on. 

“I find that the price per meal swipe is kind of inconsistent between different plans,” Deigert asked Neilson. “Was there anything that I missed, was there something in my math? Or was there some sort of oversight on your end?” 

Students discussed their concerns about new meal plan policies with Neilson on Thursday.
(Kelcie Hartley | The Poly Post)

Student were getting a cash-out value of $6.50 compared to the intended $7 at the beginning of the semester.

On his Reddit post, Deigert posted spreadsheets showing the prices per meal plan. The math allowed him to find out how much students pay per meal swipe based on each meal plan.

“In terms of the $6.50 to the $7, we screwed up,” Neilson said. “It was a system issue and we didn’t get (it) fixed until Friday. We could go through and count and give everyone 50 cents, but we’re just going to give everyone a meal.” 

The Suite Flex Plan had a limit of one cash-out per day. Now students with this meal plan have more freedom to cash-out multiple times a day. 

Both Deigert and Melson wanted to find answers to meal plan overcharges, swipe reimbursements and to-go box fees. They and other Cal Poly Pomona students have been discussing their meal plan concerns, which sprouted from student posts on Reddit on Aug. 24. 

“We have the points and the swipes, and the swipes side is intended to keep the resident dining, Los Olivos, or the Center Point open,” Neilson said. “You gotta pay the lights, you gotta pay the staff to be here. There’s a certain level of money that it takes.”

Both students agreed transparency about what students are being charged for would be preferred. 

“I feel that there would be a lot less anger and kind of, uncertainty among the student population if we did have that transparency,” Melson said.

Deigert did thank Neilson for the changes that have occurred since his Reddit post was created.

Another issue addressed regarded the to-go box charges for returning students who live on campus.

According to Deigert’s Reddit post, all incoming freshmen would receive free to-go boxes that can be cleaned after use and traded in for a new one. However, everyone else would have to pay a $5 fee for the to-go box. 

“So, here’s another screw up, and the intent was to give all incoming residents a box,” Neilson said. “That was the intent. The translation is my fault; I didn’t make that clear, and when our group saw ‘new students,’ it was taken to be freshmen. The intent was really that every resident should get a box.”

Neilson assured Deigert and Melson that the topics addressed will be further discussed along with solutions to correcting the problems. 

When asked how he thought the meeting went, Deigert said, “I thought it went very well. I do think they are taking our concerns into consideration. I think they are really trying to make things better around campus; they just didn’t have the full scope of everything. Hopefully we start seeing things improve.”

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