New meal plan steals options from students

As a sophomore this year, coming to TCU was pretty strange for me, thanks to all of the changes taking place on campus. Although I was aware that the old Student Center would be rubble when I returned this fall, it still came as a shock to see the impressive Brown Lupton University Union sitting proudly on Stadium Drive.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the BLUU. The extra space is nice, especially compared to the tiny eating area of the Main, and the food is a little better. But I have to admit that I really can’t tolerate the new meal plan.

The utter lack of a to-go option is a devastating blow to my busy schedule. I understand the desire to “unify” the campus, but I feel that this unification could be achieved in a more efficient manner. Not being able to chow down on the go slows me down a lot. So instead of getting to bond with my fellow classmates during lunch, I sit alone and try to catch up on the work I won’t have time to do later. (That is, if I manage to find a seat. As the only watering hole on campus, the BLUU gets a little cramped at lunchtime.)

Not only is it now more difficult for me to wedge time for lunch into my schedule, I also have to account for the time it takes to get to the Union. Whenever I want to actually use the ridiculous $1,800 I spend each semester on TCU’s new “improved” meal plan, I have to make the trek across campus.

Oh, sure. If I want to use up my off-campus credit at the somewhat convenient but hopelessly mediocre Pond Street Grill, then I have no need to make the journey to the BLUU. But the way I see it, that is impractical. Call me crazy, but flushing the mandatory credit of $1800 or more down the drain doesn’t appeal to me much.

It isn’t just the Greek community that suffers from the centralized cafeteria either, though we do make up a good chunk of the student population at TCU. Late-night studiers can’t just snag a snack at the library cafe anymore without wasting some of their “Frogbucks.” Business students who practically live in Smith, Dan Rogers and Tandy can’t just grab a sandwich at Sub Connections like last year. After working out, students have to use their “extra” money to buy a smoothie or a sports drink if they want to stay hydrated.

In short, though I appreciate the new facilities on campus, I would like to see a little less construction and a little more renovation regarding the meal plan. In my opinion, TCU should give the power to choose where to eat back to the students.

Kelli Trapnell is a sophomore writing major from Houston.