Beginning next semester, students will have the option to use their meal plan swipes at Sub Connection in Smith Hall, a university official said Wednesday.
Craig Allen, director of Residential Services, said this change to the meal plan is the result of students voicing concerns about not being able to use their swipes at a dining location on the east side of campus.
“Students have told us, ‘I’m on the other side of campus, how come I can’t use the swipe at Sub Connection?'” Allen said.
Allen said the new program, called Simply To-Go, will be available to students at the start of the spring semester.
The food options at Sub Connection will be different for students who decide to use their swipes, Allen said. Students will be able to choose from a number of pre-packaged food options including salads, sandwiches, fruit, cookies and drinks, Allen said.
Students who want to select food from the regular menu will still have to use their Frog Bucks, he said.
Allen said there will be a four-hour time period in which swipes can be used at Sub Connection. Restrictions once that swipe is used will also apply, he said.
“You can use a swipe there between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.,” Allen said. “If you use your swipe there, you wouldn’t be able to come to Market Square and use it for three hours.”
Convenience for students is at the heart of this change, and TCU and Sodexo are absorbing the extra cost of the meal plan addition, Allen said.
“What we’re able to do now is provide them that convenience that people said they wanted,” he said.
Depending on its success, the experiment with Sub Connection could eventually lead to other changes being made to the meal plans, Allen said.
“We’ll see how well this goes, and then we’ll evaluate if we want to have Simply To-Go at other locations,” Allen said. “For now, we’re going to go with this location because it provides coverage for the east side of campus.”
Rick Flores, general manager for Dining Services, said Sodexo will be prepared to handle the adjustments made at Sub Connection.
“Right now we’re just doing an evaluation and making sure we have the facility and the equipment to be able to take care of something like that,” Flores said.
Flores said that because of the change to the meal plan there is some concern about reversing Dining Services’ efforts to cut back on waste and help the environment.
“All of a sudden we’re talking about using take-out packaging again,” Flores said. “It’s a matter of balancing out that part of sustainability with convenience for the students.”
Sophomore prebusiness major Albert Rayle, creator of the Facebook group “Petition against TCU’s new meal plan,” said he hopes this initial change to the plan will eventually lead to students being able to use swipes at all on-campus dining options.
“It’s a pretty big change that I didn’t think they’d be making until next year,” Rayle said. “They’re slowly making progress, very slowly, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
Allen said an announcement regarding future changes to Pond Street Grill, a dining location with poor traffic because of this semester’s new meal plan, will be made sometime next month.
“We haven’t yet finalized that,” Allen said. “It will be changed.”