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Bucknell’s dining system is broken

It’s a chilly October night at 6:30 pm. You are in the Bison, standing in the checkout line with your third chicken tender wrap of the week. You scan your card quickly and start walking to catch up with your friends. All of a sudden, you hear a voice yelling after you and a nice lady running after you trying to stop you. When she catches up to you, you hear her saying “Excuse me, you are out of money”. You are in shock, you are out of dining dollars and you still have five to six weeks left in the semester. You have no idea how you are out of money since you only get dinner and lunch. You walk back to the register and get out your credit card and reluctantly pay with it.

This is a scene that is all too familiar to upperclassmen at the end of each semester at Bucknell. Long lines because people are out of dining dollars and have to find cash or a credit card to pay for their meals. This is unacceptable. Students who paid for an expensive dining plan should not be worried about how they are going to eat at the end of the semester. A common argument is “You just buy expensive meals”. However, this is not the case. With the most popular dining plan – $700 dining dollars, you can not afford dinner and lunch every day. You can only afford daily dinners and even with only that you might cut it close. On the dining plan I have- $700 dining dollars and $300 plus dollars, I can only afford to purchase lunch and dinner on the weekdays and must find food elsewhere on the weekends. Even with careful planning I am cutting it close with only $70 left for the last 2-3 weeks of the semester. 

Students pay thousands of dollars and still have to meticulously budget to make their plan stretch. Many scope out what the cheapest meal is and avoid buying a drink or snacks.This is unacceptable. Students need food to function and to learn their best. Students going to a school with a $844 million endowment should not be struggling to find/afford food.

Freshman have an anytime access plan which alleviates some stress when it comes to finding food. However, the cost of the plan, $2,841 is astronomical and students must bear the stress of finding the money to pay for this plan on top of books, tuition, and basic necessities. The other plans available range from $1,335 to $2,365 with varying amounts of dining dollars, plus dollars, and swipes attached to them. The cheapest of those plans- $1,335, only affords 3 swipes a week plus $700 in dining/plus dollars. 3 swipes a week will get you dinner 3 days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday). Lunch costs for those days must be paid with dining/plus dollars and dinner and lunch costs for the rest of the week will be placed on dining/plus dollars. If you spend $8 a meal, that is $88 a week. For a 15 week semester you would need $1320. This just barely is enough and also requires you to ensure you only spend $8 a meal. Commons salads without a drink are $10, and stir fry with protein and no drink is $9.25. This means you would easily go over budget if you didn’t extremely limit your options to things such as french fries and burgers. 

Students deserve to eat nutritious meals and not stress about where their next meal is coming from. Bucknell, do better.

Hi, I'm Kendall Garnett and I am a senior Biology major/Spanish minor at Bucknell University. I am a Co-Campus Correspondent for HerCampus Bucknell. When I am not busy researching the next big pandemic I like to write and wait in the Dunkin drive-through for hours.
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