April 20, 2012 by Op-Ed
Dragon Dollars, Dining Dollars and meal swipes are all terms that average students at Drexel are familiar with. Rationing meals and dining dollars is the hassle of a freshman student attempting to eat three square meals a day. Between spending Dining Dollars at Northside Dining Terrace on groceries and using them on any of the fast-food locations on campus, there aren’t many options for a student on a budget. There is a feeling of exploitation that comes from buying groceries at a hiked-up price from Northside, and Drexel’s meal plan does nothing to alleviate this problem. In the months leading up to the first term of college, the average freshman has larger issues than picking a meal plan. There is someone who knows that if such an expensive plan is required, few will attempt to argue against it.
Once broken down, the Dining Dollar system begins to look more and more like a well-planned racket. What is a Dining Dollar? It is one’s own money that is not even redeemable for real cash. The Dining Dollar can only be used at designated campus-owned stores and has no actual value other than at Drexel. Not only does Drexel make money off of the meal plans, but the spending of Dining Dollars fuels the growth of on-campus businesses. Our money has been taken out of our own pockets then given back to us as Dining Dollars. This prohibits us as consumers to spend our money freely on whatever we would like.
The current scheme in place, though excessively priced, is a viable tactic considering this school is a place of living for so many. I am not suggesting the meal plan be done away with, but there should be genuine reconsidering of students living on a budget. There are times when a student’s investment in a meal plan goes to waste, such as when all the meals in a given week are not used. With this fact it is unreasonable to require a particular amount of meals a week, which may never get consumed. If the money were given to the students, there would be less complaint among the masses about the costliness of Drexel as a whole. There is a problem at hand regarding dining at Drexel, but any slight change in the dining plans would be a change in the right direction.