In a bid to give students access to more food, Yale Dining raised the value of a Durfee’s meal swipe this year — but students are skeptical that the change will make any difference in their dining choices.
This summer, Yale Dining changed the transfer value of its residential dining lunch swipe from $7 to $8. The transfer rate has remained at $7 for the past several years, and Director of Residential Dining Cathy Van Dyke SOM ’86 said Yale Dining wanted to provide students with more money to use for swipes in the retail dining locations, including Durfee’s, Bass Library’s Thain Family Café and Kline Biology Tower Café. Although students said the extra dollar is a welcome addition to their lunchtime budgets, most added that they think the change reflects increasing food prices and is too marginal to make much of an impact on their meal decisions.
“Students are now getting more food when they use a swipe at one of those locations,” Van Dyke said. “Yale Dining thought that the value should increase so that students can get more value for their swipes.”
Only 12 of 30 students polled were aware that Yale Dining had changed the swipe value this year. And while certain Durfee’s products have not changed in price this year, 10 students interviewed said they have seen the values for featured Durfee’s lunch combos increase. While chicken tender combo meals, for example, were priced at $7 last semester, these meals are now set at $8.
Twenty of 30 students interviewed agreed that the change in the swipe value would not persuade them to regularly venture outside of the dining halls for lunch. Mahir Rahman ’16 said he believes he gets a better deal on food if he eats almost all of his meals in the dining hall.
“[The increase in swipe value] hasn’t had an effect on me at all,” Rahman said. “I would say I went to Durfee’s or other campus food spots once a week last year. But I have in fact spent much less time going to University retail this semester. I have structured my meals so that I don’t have to use the retail places for food.”
Tara Rajan ’15 did not know about the change in swipe value, but she said she would not be more inclined to go to Durfee’s or other retail locations, calling the swipe value change a minimal difference. She said she has also noticed a spike in prices at Durfee’s.
“I’d rather get meals at the dining hall and then just keep a reserved stock of food in my room,” she said.
Although Patrick Yong ’16 was aware that the price had changed, he too does not plan on frequenting Durfee’s more this year.
“I was aware that the value increased, but it hasn’t really changed my spending habits,” Yong said. “It seems like the prices of Durfee’s products have also increased, so I haven’t been going there or really other retail dining locations more, despite the higher swipe value.”
Students can substitute their meal swipes for money at Yale Dining retail locations from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.