At the end of the semester, it is common to face one of two problems. Problem one features having an abundance of meal points, while problem two is the complete opposite.
Both problems have their pros and cons but are still not an ideal lifestyle for students to adopt.
A good solution would be for Pepperdine to implement a system where meal points are connected to students’ bank accounts. This would reduce the number of meal points that go to waste at the end of the semester, as well as give students financial power.
They would have increased control over their financial system. This method would mean that they could plan how they eat in an organized manner, and never have to endure the horrific experience of not being able to afford breakfast during finals week or even worse, fainting due to starvation during a trek up one of Pepperdine’s many hills.
This system would allow students to keep the money that is left over and put it to better use. Laura Pappano, an award-winning journalist, described how “with less than three weeks left in the spring term, [the student, Asia Suarez] would need to eat seven meals a day to use up the remaining 131 swipes on her food plan” at her school, in a 2016 New York Times article, “Leftover Meal Plan Swipes: No Waste Here.”
The ridiculousness of this amount is highlighted when the author states how even an athlete who works out constantly and eats a lot will find that $2,541 dedicated to just meal points is too many. This shines a light on the struggle that many college students, including those at Pepperdine, experience.
Reasonable rebuttal to why meal points are not refunded could be the fact that when the average person buys a gym membership, even if they do not use it all, they will not receive a refund.
And unfortunately, consumers cannot question this because before they pay for something, they are able to read the terms and conditions, which makes it a legal and ethical transaction.
This may evoke a negative reaction among students due to the fact that many people enter Pepperdine without any knowledge of how much food they will consume or even the amount that they will spend. College is the first time the majority of teenagers leave the comfort of their homes and enter an unknown environment.
It is fair to say that this aspect of college cannot be compared to a gym membership. Most people have used workout equipment at least once in their life, therefore they would purchase a gym membership with the intent of wanting to further their experience on the treadmill, for example, as they know they already enjoy that.
However, an argument that could be made against this new system is the question, “Can all students handle their finances effectively?”
Most freshmen are 17 or 18 years old. It is fair to say that the combination of these new students trying to integrate into a new school and also trying to make friends while balancing their finances perfectly may prove to be a struggle.
For this reason, this system could be optional.
Many people are not exposed to meal plans until they actually enter college. This means beforehand, most students would most likely be unaware of what amount would be deemed too little or too much.
Therefore if a student decided to begin their college experience with Pepperdine’s meal plan, by the end of the semester, their familiarity with the food prices would have increased, and it would now be up to them whether they choose to start the new meal plan bank account system or they do not.
Email Anita Okoroafor: email@example.com