Beginning this summer, the food served at Stony Brook University will not only affect students’ waists, but their wallets as well.

The retail price of food for all students and staff increase by 5 percent starting July 1, and starting the fall 2011 semester those with residential meal plans will receive a 3 percent discount after paying a $35 fee.

There are two reasons for the increase in food prices and residential meal plan fees. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for retail food prices is at an inflation of 2 percent. The Faculty Student Association and Lackmann contract mandate that the annual cost of living match these standards and as a result, the university must raise its retail prices on campus food. The additional 3 percent stems from the second reason, university renovations.

Denise Salzman, assistant to the director of marketing and communications, said in an email that the university renovates the dining facilities to better the capacity and efficiency of dining operations at peak hours. While the fifteen-year-old Student Activities Center is under construction, plans for other projects are underway.

Advertisement

“Other dining facilities, such as Kelly Dining Center, which is over 35 years old, need to be renovated to provide a more attractive place for students to dine and socialize, serve more students living in the west area of campus, and provide more menu options that our students have requested,” said Salzman via email.

The changes on campus do not stop there. The university hopes to expand by building two new dorms between Mendelson Quad and the Wang Center, and an additional dining facility to be located near the Union bus stop. The H Quad food court located in Benedict will be temporarily shut down while the Union Commons, the Union Deli and Starbucks’ hours will be extended. The University Café will only be open for special events.

David Mazza, the former Undergraduate Student Government, or USG, vice president of communications and public relations, disagrees with the renovation fees. He also says that closing down H Quad could have saved the university approximately $400,000. However, by extending the hours of parts of the Union, the University only saves $80,000.

“There are other ways to make more revenue on campus,” Mazza said.

Advertisement

Despite Mazza’s efforts to amend the meal plan proposal, the decision for the meal plan fee and the extended hours of the Union passed with nine to two votes.

In response to choice of whether or not to extend the Union dining facility hours, Moiz Khan Malik, the former USG director of event programming and secretary of the Faculty Student Association, or FSA, Board, said that he agrees with extending the Union hours after weighing the options.

“There was the option to slightly save money. Save money but also provide more service, way more than what was done in that area of campus before,” Malik said. “That will help students who studied at the library late at night. Now they don’t have to go off campus.”

Unlike previous years, renovation fees were given only to those with residential meal plans. This coming fall semester, those with residential meal plan will pay the $35 renovation fee, a 2 percent increase for the meal plan and receive a 2 percent increase in campus points. Those who use the dining facilities without a residential meal plan will pay a 3 percent increase for renovations on top of the 2 percent increase.

“I think it’s a fair plan since now the resident students don’t have to pay 100 percent of the bill,” Malik said. “The other 20 percent have to pay their share of the bill.”

Advertisement

According to Malik, renovations must be made to the Union that New York State was unwilling to fund. Barbara Chernow, vice president for facilities, was unavailable to say what repairs were required. Matthew Graham, former USG president and FSA member, and Peter Baigent, vice president of FSA, were unavailable for comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.