UI officials revise dining plans due to student recommendations


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Sunday dinners just got a lot closer to home — in fact, students are no longer required to leave campus to grab a bite.

After several student comments and recommendations, University of Iowa officials addressed the lack of dinner options last year and proceeded to make more changes based on that feedback.

Von Stange, an assistant vice president for Student Life and the senior director of the UI Housing and Dining, said officials reviewed responses from student comment boxes and met with leaders from the Associated Residence Halls to make decisions to improve student satisfaction for this school year.

Feedback ranged from students wanting Sunday dinner to complaints that there was no value to their meal plan, Stange said.

“Some of the feedback [Housing and Dining] received was there was no Sunday night meals,” Stange said. “To keep costs low we decided to have breakfast and lunch at Burge and have lunch and dinner at Hillcrest.”

Burge Marketplace is now open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hillcrest Marketplace is now open from noon to 7 p.m. but is closed from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Some students have responded positively to the changes to the dining halls’ changes in hours.

“I just think it’s a lot more convenient for students so they can have it on their meal plan this year,” UI junior Megan Collins said. “Not a lot of students always have jobs and stuff that they want to eat out every Sunday.”

Students are now able to use retail swipes at C-Stores and at the IMU. The retail swipes allow students to have a meal option at retail locations rather than going to Hillcrest or Burge Marketplace.

“Retail swipes, or flexible meals, were added so students can eat meal equivalencies at the River Room or at stores like the Mayflower Market,” Stange said. “It was designed for students on the go and tends to be more of a grab-and-go meal.”

One UI official said there was also a change in what meals are included on the meal swipe plan at the IMU River Room.

“We got several complaints because of the long lines that resulted when we allowed students to use their meal swipes at [the stir fry and home-style stations] so we made the change this fall to address this,” said Jill Irvin, the director of University Dining.

Last year, students had an option to use their meal swipes to get not only pizza or a deli sandwich but also had the option to get stir-fry or a home-style selection.

However, because complaints on overcrowding, the options were narrowed down to the choice of pizza with two sides or a deli sandwich with two sides.

“I don’t like it at all because why does it really matter if we have an overcrowding of people in the IMU,” UI junior Chris Sanchez said. “People can make their own decisions whether or not they’ll eat there or not, and our tuition is high enough, so give us all we can eat.”

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