Stallings: Old Main Market needs new dining hours
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2013 23:01
Students buy meal plans from $400 to almost $1,700 with the hope it will save them money in the long run, but ultimately it often costs them more. The unnecessary and inconvenient dining schedule results in more of the students’ money spent off campus and a good portion of their meal plan is simply wasted.
The so-called ‘unlimited food’ becomes very limited between Friday and Sunday because Old Main Market opens later and closes earlier. Old Main’s varied weekend schedule starts with a 6:30 p.m. closure on Friday night instead of the normal 8 p.m. weekday hours. It then opens for an hour breakfast, three hour lunch, and a one and a half hour dinner on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the dining facility is only open for lunch and dinner. Such odd hours leave students with small windows of opportunity to get food.
This is why meal plans also include Bearkat Bucks that students can use at Paw Print or South Paw when Old Main is closed. However, Paw Print and South Paw close at 4 p.m. on Friday. Then with the exception of Chick-fil-A, which is open for the three hours on Saturdays, Paw Print and South Paw are also closed Saturday through Sunday. Therefore, students are stuck moving their eating habits around for the weekend or spending money off campus.
While this is an inconvenience for all Bearkats, freshmen are the ones who lose out the most because most Sam Houston students get the smaller meal plans with more Bearkat Bucks or no meal plan at all, but freshmen are required to have one of three most expensive meal plans with less Bearkat Bucks.
Freshmen are stuck paying from $1,500 to $1,700 for plans that are used maybe once or twice on the weekends and are also left spending more money on off campus food.
If students are going to be advertised meal plans as a means of saving money, then food should be easily accessible throughout a whole week not just four days. It makes sense for a slight change in Old Market’s schedule for the weekend, because not as many people are on campus or in town. Closing early on Friday, however, is unnecessary and inconvenient.
Also Old Main should be open for at least three hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.