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Gatepost Editorial: Bring back the meal exchanges

By Gatepost Editorial Board

It is hard to find an FSU resident who isn’t upset about the elimination of the Meal Exchange program.

The Meal Exchange program was extremely popular, and it fulfilled Sodexo’s mission to create “the best possible dining experience,” according to the FSU Dining Services webpage.

Most residents were unaware that this program would be “temporary.”

Google ‘Framingham State meal exchange options’ and the second-most-popular link is a Facebook page with about 700 students petitioning to bring back the program.

A member posted, “I’m hearing a lot of stories about people going hungry because of the caf overcrowding or meal time conflicts. With the amount of money you pay for plans, this should never happen.

“Just sending an email out about going at a different time is not nearly enough Ralph Eddy.”

The meal exchange program was apparently created as a temporary solution for an influx of students in Fall 2011.

The Sodexo Corporation eliminated the Meal Exchange program because it was losing money.

Eddy, Director of FSU Dining Services, said the meal exchange program was removed because the cafeteria expansion was designed to accommodate all of FSU’s diners.

The new expansion does not serve as a substitution for the meal exchange program and is not a suitable reason for its elimination – it’s a poor excuse for cost savings.

While more seating is now available, the cafeteria itself is still serving the same number of busy students. It is an inconvenience to wait in extremely long lines at food stations when students could instead be exchanging a caf meal for one at any of the other less-congested eateries on campus.

The additional seats in the cafeteria do not guarantee faster, more convenient service.

Meal exchanges were extremely popular for a reason. First and foremost, they allowed students flexibility in choosing when and where they could eat. Not all students’ schedules coincide with the cafeteria’s hours; nor do students always have time to wait for food in overcrowded lines.

Also, they offered residents a broader range of dining options. Many students prefer food other than what is served in the cafeteria.

Is the relatively small number of Framingham State diners impacting a national corporation’s funds so severely that it would sacrifice having happy and satisfied customers?

We at The Gatepost find it hard to believe that Sodexo could not come up with an alternative to meet both company and customer expectations.

In order to satisfy consumers, Sodexo needs to bring meal exchanges back.

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