By Kelly Corbett
It’s that time of day again. Students dash to the Lib Café, almost trample each other in the Lion’s Den or jet to the Rathskeller on a mission: to satisfy their growling tummies, in the name of free food of course. It is none other than the magical hours between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., known as Meal Equiv, when students can take a break from Eick food and venture off to the other on-campus dining facilities for lunch. Whether it’s an iced caramel macchiato from the Lib Café or a personal pizza from the Lion’s Den that hits the spot, students receive the first $7.25 of their meals for free, a whole extra quarter than last year.
However, due to this increase from $7 to $7.25 during Meal Equiv, several other prices on campus went up. Suddenly that pudding or fresh fruit cup, along with a variety of caffeinated concoctions the Lib Café has to offer, seem just a little bit pricier. In reality, it’s only an extra couple dimes and nickels that are getting squeezed out of your Carte Blanche points, but you don’t need to be a math major to know that after a while it starts to add up.
As you brace your Pure Leaf iced tea and basket of chicken fingers in the frenzied Lion’s Den line during Meal Equiv, you start adding up your meal prices in your head. “How much will I go over Meal Equiv? Do I have enough points?”
Even with the $0.25 increase, it ultimately does not compensate for the other skyrocketing food prices on campus. Perhaps you want to treat yourself to a Strawberry Banana Naked drink but not during the hours of Meal Equiv. Or as tragic as it seems, what if a particular class schedule does not leave a student with time to experience the hustle and bustle of Meal Equiv? Swipe, swipe, swipe go our student IDs, and bye, bye, bye go our points. With very few stores, supermarkets or restaurants within walking distance of campus, a majority of students’ only options for food are the on-campus facilities. Is it fair to us that the foods be overpriced? Whether students start out with 400 or 150 Carte Blanche points, the points still have to last them the entirety of the semester, and with $5 for a fresh fruit cup or $5.89 for a pint of ice cream, our points are being depleted. Think of how much less these foods cost at the supermarket. As the semester ends, students go on the prowl for points — their accounts drained for some by irresponsible spending, and for many, the overpriced food here.
Bottom line, thank you Meal Equiv Gods for the $0.25 increase, and continue to raise it if you please. But as for the rest of the food on campus, it would be greatly appreciated if the prices would stop rising and even possibly be lowered. Our hungry tummies and Carte Blanche points will thank you.