This year, Bowdoin students are newly able to select a meal plan that includes 21 meal swipes per week, a welcome increase from the previous 19 meal swipes offered by the Res19 Plan.
On May 16, Dining Services Business Manager Billy Watkins informed the community of the change.
“We wanted to share an exciting update coming to the Res19 plan. This fall, the Res19 Plan will be renamed the Full Board Plan and will now include any 21 meals per week,” Watkins wrote in a campus-wide email.
Executive Director of Dining Ryan Miller explained some of the logic behind the change, pointing to strong student support of meal plan expansion as well as changing guidelines around federal student aid.
“There were changes that came this summer to the FAFSA process. Among other things unrelated to what we do in Dining, it further defined what a ‘full meal plan’ meant. Expanding the meal plans by two additional meals per week guarantees that our students are receiving three nutritious meals per day, seven days per week,” Miller wrote in an email to the Bowdoin Orient.
Miller noted that Dining Services, Student Affairs and the Financial Aid Office all played a role in the decision to switch the meal plan’s structure.
This change, while minor, makes a big difference for many students as the two extra swipes per week afford students opportunities to go to Super Snack or weekend breakfast, meals that students might have skipped in the past. While a big change for some students, the new plan did not involve many logistical changes in Dining Services’ planning regimen.
“When you consider our normal operating hours and Super Snack, we were already offering 24 meal opportunities each week. While we have not added additional meal periods, we have slightly expanded hours this year in anticipation that we might see increased guest counts,” Miller wrote. “Our team spends a tremendous amount of time in the summer months developing recipes, writing menus and sourcing ingredients. That process is the same regardless of meal plan changes.”
The change in dining hall hours means that Moulton Hall now opens at 8 a.m. on the weekends, an hour earlier than in previous years, and Jack Magee’s now remains in operation throughout the day without closing in the mid-afternoon.
Miller noted some trends regarding attendance of the specific dining halls on campus.
“Moulton tends to see higher breakfast and lunch traffic due to proximity to the academic side of campus. Thorne sees higher dinner and weekend counts due to [its] proximity to the residential/athletic side of campus,” Miller wrote.
Even with these increased hours, Miller says it is too early to notice a significant difference in dining hall attendance compared to previous years.
“Students are just now settling into their academic routine, joining clubs, and our first-year students are getting acclimated to college life. The first few weeks are also full of beautiful weather and events that pull traffic from the dining halls. All of this to say that the data from this first week is very similar to previous years,” Miller wrote.