Elis mourn loss of double swipes

Thanks to a change in Yale Dining Services rules, students will no longer be able to stock up on Snapple and candy bars at the Law School before heading back to their colleges for lunch.

Meal plan holders who choose to have lunch at one of the retail dining facilities, which sell packaged foods and drinks along with menu items, will only be able to use one swipe during the lunch period, whether or not they ate breakfast. Dining Services administrators said the change was partially meant to curb the drain of meal plan money from the Yale College Dining Services program, but the move has sparked criticism among undergraduates.

Retail dining locations include the dining halls in the Law School, the School of Management, the Divinity School, the Hall of Graduate Studies and Marigolds at the Medical School.

Students are still allowed to swipe twice during lunch if they eat in Commons or the residential college dining halls. Holders of the Anytime Meal Plan may transfer one swipe per meal period to retail dining facilities.

In past years, double swiping was popular among undergraduates who had missed the breakfast period and wished to have a meal before lunch or stock up on food and drinks with their unused credit. One swipe is equivalent to $7 in a retail dining hall.

The option to double-swipe was created by Dining Services within the last four years to allow more flexibility in meal times for students, said Ernst Huff, associate vice president for student financial and administrative services.

“It never was intended that the double swipe apply at retail,” Huff said. “It was a service implemented a few years ago to help students who missed breakfast to grab something quickly and then come back and have a full lunch later.”

Previously, students were only permitted one swipe per meal period, regardless of how many meals they ate over the course of the day.

The Law School dining hall was a particularly popular place for double swiping because of its central location on campus, Huff said. Because this facility is run by the Law School and not by Dining Services, several hundred thousand dollars per year in student meal credits were going to supplement the Law School dining program instead of the College’s, he said.

“We felt that was a lot of money out of the board program,” Huff said.

Crowding at the registers of the Law School dining hall is also a problem, Andrew Verstein LAW ’09 said. But Verstein said he thinks the new rule may not do much to limit the number of undergraduates who eat there.

“The students who buy food and eat it in the building will still buy food and eat it in the building,” he said. “But it does seem likely that we will have a better shot of actually getting a Snapple.”

The change in regulations has been unpopular among undergraduates. Some students said that using a second swipe at specific retail dining locations was convenient, and that the new rule will make it more difficult for them to eat both breakfast and lunch.

“It’s really unfortunate that they’ve taken this option away from us,” Altaf Saadi ’08 said. “It was really nice being able to stock up on food and not being wasteful with that unused breakfast swipe.”

The limitation on double swiping applies to all holders of Dining Services meal plans, including graduate students.

Yale College Council Secretary Dave Narotsky ’09 said securing Law School swipes for undergraduates is the kind of issue the YCC would like to tackle this year, but the Council will lack the manpower to pursue a response to the change until after residential college representatives are chosen in elections that end on Thursday.

—Staff reporters Cullen Macbeth and Steven Siegel contributed to this story.

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