Changes to Southside, the Johnson Center and meal plans
BY KEIRSTEN ROBINSON, STAFF WRITER
At the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester, several changes occurred in the dining halls and at different food-related locations around campus. These dining and dining-related changes and more are expected to continue throughout this semester and into the next.
One of the first changes to occur was the implementation of the new Simple Servings station at Southside dining hall for the Spring 2017 semester. The Simple Servings station is 100 percent allergen free; it serves no products containing peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, milk, eggs or wheat, according to Executive Director for Retail Operations Mark Kraner.
Freshman Lindsay Walter was very excited upon seeing the new Simple Servings station at Southside when she returned to campus after winter break.
“I think it’s really cool that they’re doing a specified hot entree every day. Before it was hard to find something that wasn’t just the Simple Servings station,” Walter said.
She also said that dining needs to man the station better, as there was only one employee for the stir-fry and Simple Servings stations, but added she’s excited to see what other changes Mason Dining makes moving forward.
As for near-future changes, the Johnson Center dining hall will be revamped, according to a previous Fourth Estate article. These changes include the closing of Star Ginger, Burger King, Erbert & Gerbert and Jorge’s. Star Ginger will be returning in the fall with an expanded selection and more space. Coming with it will be Blaze Pizza, Steak & Shake and Garbanzo. Indaroma and Red Hot & Blue will be moving downstairs in the Johnson Center across from Starbucks.
In addition to the Johnson Center, there are also changes coming to meal plans for the 2017-2018 academic year. Some aspects of these plans have begun, most notably changes to the Patriot plans; more meals will be offered each semester without an increase in price. Starting in the fall, though, these plans will roll over the extra money and meal swipes between the fall and spring semesters. Freedom meal plans, along with Bonus Funds, will also roll over between the two semesters so that students will not lose the money they don’t spend at the end of each semester, Kraner said.
Junior Shelby Ingram was upset to hear about the changes coming to the Freedom meal plan and wished that they were enacted when she had the Freedom plan.
“That’s what they should have been doing since the beginning. I feel like it was a rip off because we either had to blow the extra money at the end of each semester or lose the money that you already paid for,” Ingram said.
Lastly, a new meal plan option will also be offered in addition to the already existing Independence meal plan. The “Liberty Plan,” designed for juniors and seniors still living on campus in housing that is designated to require a meal plan, will allow students to have a set number of meals in the dining halls each week (nine or 14), Kraner said, in addition to Flex dollars that will be usable at all on-campus dining locations.