CSUSM will implement a mandatory, multi-thousand dollar meal plan for on-campus residents in the fall of 2020.The resident meal plan rates will vary between first year students and second year students or beyond. First year student plans are $2,299 a semester and total out to $4,598 annually. Second year to graduate student plans will cost $1,549 a semester, with an annual total of $3,098.
If the current amount of student residents remains, around 1,500 students will be affected by the change.
First-year student residents will have to choose from one of three plans: the Cougar Plan, which offers 19 meals per week and $75 dining dollars, the Tukwut Plan, which offers 15 meals per week and $400 dining dollars, and lastly, the Paw Plan, which offers 12 meals per week and $625 dining dollars.
Second-year to graduate student residents will also have three plans to choose from that utilize a meal count that can be used across the semester, as opposed to a certain number of meals per week. The Cougar Blue plan offers 160 meals per semester and $150 dining CSUSM to implement mandatory resident meal plan for upcoming fall semester dollars. The Gold Plan offers 115 meals per semester and $500 dining dollars. The Silver Plan offers 90 meals per semester and $650 dining dollars.
Dining dollars can be used at the café, any USU dining spots and Kellogg Library’s Starbucks. No matter the plan or year of the student, meals will not carry over to the next week or semester. Voluntary meal plans will be available to students, faculty and staff as well.
The resident meal plan will coincide with the construction of a 8,000-square-foot dining café on the first floor of the QUAD, at the corner of Barham and Campus Way. According to CSUSM Corporation, “The café will be all-you-care-to-eat with a wide variety of options that include rotating menus and specials. There will also be plenty of offerings to accommodate dietary restrictions, including allergen-free, gluten-free and vegan dishes.”
CSUSM Corporation has also shared how the resident meal plan will benefit students in a number of ways. By no longer having to invest time or money into cooking, cleaning, shopping or commuting, students will have more time to focus on academic and personal pursuits.
Meal plans will also match student lifestyles and eating habits accordingly and offer healthy and affordable meals. FAQs and additional information on the upcoming program can be found at https:// www.csusm.edu/corp/dining/fall2020/index.html.
Although CSUSM Corporation has presented the logistics and benefits of the the meal plan, it has not been introduced without opposition from CSUSM students.
Fourth-year sociology student Tatiana Apelu recently created a petition to remove the mandatory resident meal plan. The petition explains the logistics of the meal plan and offers multiple criticisms, ranging from the plan’s lack of detail regarding exemptions under special circumstances to financial consequences for low-income students.
According to Apelu, the meal plan will be added to financial aid expenses. This means any remaining money from grants will automatically be allocated to the plan’s cost.
“We, the CSUSM Students, demand that CSUSM and CSUSM Housing address the mandatory meal plan and acknowledge it is detrimental to our low-income students or students with the inability to pay for the meal plan,” says the petition. “We request that the meal plan be changed from mandatory to voluntary as a way to give all students control and leeway of their financial situations.”
A comment on the petition from Jess Cain said, “I don’t want to have to pay for a meal plan because I would not use the dining hall. Part of the reason I chose this school was because I had the freedom to cook my own food in the kitchen provided. I don’t want to have to pay for something I wouldn’t use!”
The petition has 490 signatures as of the publishing of this article and can be found at https://www.change.org/p/california-state-university-san-marcos-remove-mandatory-dining-for-csusm-housing-residents recruiter=838559712&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition