Food costs too damn high

Katherine Middleton, Opinion Editor

Buying food on campus can be a draining experience, both emotionally and financially. Dealing with sometimes-moody staff members and paying high prices for mediocre food every day can take its toll on a person.

During a one-week period, I spent $94.43 on food in retail. Since I live in the Student Apartment Complex, I cook at least one meal a day at home and the rest I’ll eat from dining or retail locations on campus. Even by cooking one meal at home and eating on campus once or twice a day during the school week, skipping weekends, I still manage to spend nearly $100 a week eating on campus.

Since becoming a student at SUNY Buffalo State in 2013, I’ve had the Flex Plus 50 meal plan: 50 meals and $1,000 dining dollars per semester. There are 14 weeks in a semester, and if I’m spending upwards of $90 a week, it would be impossible for me to be able to eat twice a day for five days a week strictly relying on my meal plan. In fact, I’ve never been able to. Thankfully I have outside funds that I can use to go grocery shopping, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Toward the end of the semester, it seems like everyone is asking their friends for meal swipes or to buy them a WOW! Deal at retail. Even with careful planning, depleting your meal plan before the end of the semester is inevitable.

As mentioned in my article “Chartwells issues surveys to get student feedback about campus pricing, dining,” Chartwells insists that they try to keep prices affordable by creating WOW! Deals that cost $5, but as someone who doesn’t eat meat, they don’t help me very much. Salsaritas and Chop’d are the only two places I could consistently get a WOW! Deal every day, and after a while it gets tiring eating the same things. Sure, I could go to dining, but since I only have 50 meal swipes for the semester, I only eat there for breakfast two to three times during the week, including weekends.

Every time I go to Wegmans or Tops and realize that I would have been better off without a meal plan, I get disappointed. At this point in the semester, it’s too late to change my meal plan and since I’m graduating in a few weeks, I’ll just have to live with the bad choices I made regarding meal plans.

The truth of the matter is, Chartwells needs to do more to meet my needs and the needs of the student body. I understand that we don’t go to an Ivy League school and can’t get top-of-the-line cuisine, but with some minor flavor changes, the rest of the student body and I might actually enjoy the food we eat.

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