STORY BY BRANDI DYE
It is no secret that Drake University students can be a bit disillusioned with the dining hall options, yet students who live on campus are still required to have a meal plan.
“If I had a choice, I would not get a meal plan at all here,” said Andrea Aguilar, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major.
First-year magazines major Jacob McKay finds his 195 meals per semester meal plan satisfactory, but he does not agree with how Drake formulates meal plan costs.
“If you charged people less for less food that would make sense,” McKay said.
Drake has four meal plans: 10 meals a week with 275 flex dollars, 14 meals a week with 100 flex dollars, 195 meals per semester with 300 flex dollars and 335 meals per semester with no flex dollars. All four meal plans cost the same, $2,223 per semester.
At the current cost of meal plans, students like Aguilar, who regularly eats at both Hubbell and Quad, would prefer more variety in the type of food offered in the dining halls.
“I feel like I have to use the meal plan since I’m paying for it,” Aguilar said.
For off-campus students, Drake has two commuter meal plan options: 75 meals with 75 flex dollars per semester, which costs $555, or 125 meals with 125 flex dollars per semester for $925.
Queion Swift, a junior broadcast news major, opted to go without a commuter meal plan for his first year living off campus.
“I couldn’t go back to eating straight Hubbell and straight Quad,” Swift said. “The perk of not having a meal plan is I get to go shopping for real food and I can cook.”
“Drake could make the meal plans optional,” Aguilar said. “I think it is totally plausible to do that because you end up spending the same amount of money, if not less, than what you’re paying for a meal plan that you don’t even use fully.”
McKay would not want to live on campus without a meal plan, but he does wish that Drake dining was more consistent. “The quality of food fluctuates at an obscene level,” McKay said. “If the Chinese food was as good as the pizza, I wouldn’t even be complaining right now.”
For Aguilar, a pescatarian (she chooses to eat fish but not meat), the quality of Hubbell Dining Hall and Quad Creek Café is secondary to their lack of options.
“I feel like there is not a lot of variety in terms of healthy options for me,” Aguilar said.
Swift, however, does not feel that being off a meal plan has improved his ability to eat healthy foods. “[Drake’s meal plans] can’t make you eat anything that’s going to make you healthier,” Swift said. “It’s not like I’m at the crib making delicious salads and fruit smoothies.”
Between cooking, eating at restaurants and getting swipes from underclassmen friends, Swift’s dining options are vast. “But who actually wants to cook everyday, three times a day?” Swift said. “It’s a freedom but it can be a costly and time consuming freedom as well.”