Students have begun to make it known that every semester there are a large number of their meals that go unused. Lisa Rosson, a second year student at WCU, explains that, “If there were more variety, then I would have a better chance to use my meals.” At the end of the semester a large number of students make an attempt to use up all their meals to prevent them from going to waste. However, many are unsuccessful, and in the end never use many of them. Dr. Tom Purce, Vice President of student affairs, has heard this complaint many times. As a result, a new contract was proposed. Purce explains that they had bids from four companies that were willing to make readjustments to the University’s dining arrangement. In the end the contract was offered to Aramark. The new contract is scheduled to go into effect starting June 1.
Purce shows that there will be a major conversion in meal plans and in the cafeterias. Purce explains that for the new semester when these adjustments are complete there will be made available three hundred meal plans. Along will an increased number of meals students will be allowed five guest passes for visitors to dine as well. In addition to increasing the meal amount, is an increased opportunity to use these meals. Purce explains that they will be adding to the current dining areas. For example, in Rams Head there will be added a Chick-Fil-A; in Recitation they will build a dining area called “The Wall,” which will serve pastries and sandwiches. The biggest change will occur on south campus and in Lawrence cafeteria. On South Campus, Purce said, “We will be getting rid of the computer labs and office space, but will leave the mail room, and will add a Subway.” Campus Corner will no longer be seperated from Lawrence. Purce states, “You will be able to go into Campus Corner through Lawrence.” Added to Lawrence Hall will be an Einstein’s Bagel. In Campus Corner will be an area with a chef present to prepare meals, and students have the opportunity to enjoy a premium dinner. Purce continues: “Here the students can order a meal such as lobster, steak, and scallops.”
Purce admits that he chose Aramark because their board plan was very impressive. Aramark gave $1.7 million for the dining program. Purce said that other opportunities for students to use meals have been made available by extending the daily meal allowance and meal zone times. For example, on the weekends, instead of just brunch and dinner, students will be allowed brunch, dinner, and a late night meal. The caf in the library will stay open until 10 p.m., and the other dining areas will be open until at least 10 p.m.
Purce states that students can access all of this with their Ram E card, even the premium dinners. The completion of this project is expected in fall 2004, except for the “Lawrence expansion” which is expected to be completed in spring or summer of 2005.