TU students often must plan their eating schedule around how many meal swipes they have left.
In the average school, there was always the favored time of day with school lunches. The topic of what would be served was in everyone’s conversation, even if it was just a quick ask and answer. But the negative side of this was when kids couldn’t pay. At my specific school, students would receive a series of warnings from the staff, and eventually they would be served the simple ham and cheese sandwich.
Now that we have gone to college, things are different, but if it’s the lunch options are better is up for debate. You may ask: What happens when you run out of swipes? I didn’t even know, even after looking through the Tulsa website.
I went to a lunch lady to ask what happens when a student runs you run out of swipes. She informed me that once you run out, you simply can no longer enter the dining center. Whether this is better or worse is up for debate. Having used up limited meals, and limited dining dollars, students can’t even eat. Now upgrading your meal plan or adding dining dollars is a theoretically viable one solution, but students who are spending countless dollars on housing, tuition, and a variety of other college student expenses might not be able to spare the whopping $15 it would cost to enter the dining center, or spend the money to buy food in the student union.
A student, who wishes to remain nameless, has the eight-meal plan. They ex- pressed to me how unfair it is that they must gamble every day when they want to eat and having to tell their friends that they used their swipe for the day. At first, their plan was to save their dining dollars for the end of the semester towards exams when they wanted to grab something fast. But hunger isn’t something that can be easily scheduled. They’ve been using their swipes and dining dollars, expressing that they don’t even think they can make it to the end of the semester, and they worry about what will happen when they run out of dining dollars and are dependent on the one meal a day plan. Too nervous to ask their parents for money, they are in quite the situation.
Are the meal plans setting up students to be embarrassed or to run out of swipes purposely? Is there a way or strategy for students to be able to eat? Should eating be free to students? There’s so many different questions to the topic of school lunches, but I believe that something as important as eat- ing should be made available to everyone on campus, and not something that they should have to worry about.