Frequently Asked Questions
The following frequently asked questions were generated by students and parents as they navigated the meal selection process, changes to plans, additions to points, etc.
- Please explain the points and meal plans.
Freshman have the ability to go to their portfolio and choose from the 135 block plan, the 165 block plan, the 210 block plan or the 285 block plan (additional $300 per semester)
Sophomores will be able to go to their portfolio and choose from one of four block plans or a fifth plan(Block 105/$745 points per semester) that is only available to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
The other plan is an All Declining Balance Plan which is only available to juniors and seniors. Juniors and Seniors also have access to a 50 block plan ($1225 points) geared toward a more flexible work schedule many upperclass students have (internships, etc.). Meal plan costs are included in the Residential Comprehensive Fee except for the additional cost of the Block 285 meal plan.
As part of the block plan, each student has seven guest meals built into their plan. This allows students to have multiple meal swipes in a given meal period, up to seven times, in the event they have guests. This is automatically built into each block plan but if you choose not to use them as guest meals you may use them as a regular meals over the course of the semester. When not using guest meals students may only swipe their card once within a given meal period.
Here is a summary of the meal plan information for 2014-2015: In general a point is equal to $1
Block 135 MEALS/$523 POINTS PER SEMESTER (averages 9 meals per week*)
Block 165 MEALS/$302 POINTS PER SEMESTER (averages 11 meals per week*)
Block 210 MEALS/$110 POINTS PER SEMESTER (averages 14 meals per week*)
*Block 285 MEALS/$55 POINTS PER SEMESTER (averages 19 meals per week*)
*Additional cost of $300 per semester
The following plan is only available to sophomores, juniors or seniors:
Block 105 MEALS/$745 POINTS PER SEMESTER (averages 7 meals per week*)
* Normally dining services is closed during Fall break and meal usage is not factored in for that time period; however during academic year 2014-15 Homecoming occurs over Fall Break. If you elect to remain on campus that weekend you will be able to use your meal plan, HOWEVER, your weekly average will be less than the above stated numbers. Dining services will still be closed during Thanksgiving break.
The following plans are only available to juniors and seniors:
Block 50 Meals/$1225 POINTS PER SEMESTER
ALL DECLINING BALANCE POINTS / $1,629 POINTS PER SEMESTER
- How do I determine what plan I need?
This is one of the hardest adjustments students make when coming to college! At home they are used to breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks whenever they want. Typically, parents believe their student will want these same options at college but rarely do students actually follow that kind of schedule. Classes, programs, clubs, athletics, events, etc. interrupt the schedule that would allow for three meals a day. Portions of all you can eat also make balancing three meals a day challenging. Most freshmen elect the 135 plan (135 meals/523 points) and most sophomores elect the 105 plan(105 meals/745 points). When those meals are selected we have a high percentage of complete use (remember, points roll from fall to spring semester but meals do not). Students unsure of how much they will eat and what their schedule will look like should select the plan they think will meet their needs, track their usage during the first few weeks and make changes to their plan before the change deadline expires. This is usually within the first two weeks of classes. Changes cannot be made after the deadline has passed; no exceptions. Deadlines are posted on students e-portfolios and the WesCard home page as well as linked through this website.
- I see that with the meal plans, you purchase a number of meals, however, if there are 21 meals in a week (7 days X 3 meals/day) X 15 weeks in a semester, that comes to 315 meals/semester. None of the meal plans offer this amount. Why?
There are 19 meals served at the Usdan marketplace per week. This facility is the primary dining facility on campus and offers the most meal periods. Monday through Friday breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. On Saturday and Sunday we offer brunch and dinner. If a student desires 19 meals per week we offer one meal block plan that will meet this need – the 285 meal block plan averages 19 meals per week plus $55.00 in points. This plan is a premium plan and costs an additional $300.00 per semester above the regular RCF.
- Where can meals be used and where can points be used?
There are 19 meals served at the Usdan marketplace per week so there shouldn’t be situations in which a student doesn’t use meals unless they are choosing not to use them. The Marketplace opens at 8AM and closes at 8PM each weekday with short periods between meals that the dining hall closes to change over for each meal period. Meals or points are accepted in this location. In addition Summerfield’s is another location that accepts meals or points (lunch and dinner). The Usdan Café and Pi Café offer hours throughout the day and into the evening for a la carte point purchase options. Lastly, Usdan Marketplace offers late night dining from 9:30PM-1:00AM each day for another option for points. Students can also shop in Wes Shop using points. There is a lunch option available at Wes Shop that you can use a meal swipe for as well.
- What are Guest Meals?
As part of each block plan, each student has seven guest meals built into their plan. This allows students to have multiple meal swipes in a given meal period, up to seven times, in the event they have guests. This is automatically built into each block plan but if you choose not to use them as guest meals you may use them as a regular meals over the course of the semester. When not using guest meals students may only swipe their card once within a given meal period. Tracking meals used can become confusing because of the guest meals since they do not show up on your receipt which tracks usage. For example if you have the 135 plan, on the first meal swipe of a semester it will show that you have 127 meals remaining; what it doesn't show is that you also still have 7 guest meals. This can be confusing so students should take note of this anomaly and not rely only on the receipts. All meals including the guest meals will reflect within the students portfolio.
- What is the best value for point usage?
Meals should always be used first since points roll from Fall to Spring semester and meals do not. That said, breakfast is the least expensive meal and dinner the most costly so if a choice between a block meal and points needs to be made, breakfast is the most economical use of points within the dining venues accepting meals and points. For a "grab and go" option, Weshop groceries provide the most value for students use of points versus pre-packaged meals at the various fast food options around campus.
- Do I lose meals if I don’t use them in a week?
The block meal plan is set up so that it is cumulative within a semester. Therefore if, for example, you have the 105 plan, which would average 7 meals per week, and you only use 3 meals this week, it just means that the following week you can have 11 meals. Or you can have 14 meals this week and next but eventually you will run out of meals. However, at the end of each semester any meals you have not used are lost, they do not carry over into the spring semester. Points on all plans are transferable from the fall to spring semester; points remaining at the end of the spring semester are not refundable.
- Why does a student purchase a combination of a meal plan and points?
Students who are on the meal block plan have a combination of meals and points. The meal is always the better value as a meal “swipe” is cost below the actual points charged for a meal. Students are encouraged to use their meals as their primary nutrition source but points allow students to supplement their choices with snacks and grab and go items from various cafes on campus as well as Weshop. Student may only swipe on eblack meal within a meal period (unless they use a guest meal) so points can supplement if a snack is desired within that same period.
- Why do freshman and sophomores have a meal block plan?
The meal plan is developed so that as freshman and sophomores develop their schedules and personal preferences they will participate in a common dining experience with their peers. The most common plan for first year students has 135 meals per semester (averages 9 meals per week) and 523 points for a balance of dining hall and a la carte meals. Sophomores have the option of choosing a plan with 105 meals (averaging 7 meals per week) and 745 points per semester for greater flexibility in a student’s second year after they have begun to form friendships. Upperclass students, most of whom have kitchens, and who have presumably established a strong network of friends have the option of choosing from one of the meals and points plans or a plan that is all points.
- Can I get off the meal plan?/Can I switch to all points?
Unless you have a previously documented medical condition (by a licensed, practicing Medical Doctor, non family member) that cannot be managed by Bon Appétit, all Wesleyan students are required to select a meal plan. If you believe you have a medical condition that would make you eligible for a waiver you would first need to meet with with the physician in health services. The campus physicaian will need to contact your personal physician to verify and gather documentation on the pre-existing condition. A recommendation will then be made to the Director of the Usdan University Center who will make the final decision. Housing location is not necessarily a reason to be released from a meal plan; in addition living in traditional upperclass housing does not mean a Freshman or Sophomore will be released from the block meal plan requirement. Additionally Freshman and Sophomores are not eligible to be moved to all points because of conveninece or because they have not used all block meals in a previous semester. Only if the aforementioned medical documentation is present will this option be considered.
Alternatively, if you meet the Residential Life criteria for Off Campus status, you may submit a request to be released from the meal plan to the Director of the Usdan University Center at firstname.lastname@example.org Off Campus status is viewed as a break of the residency agreement at Wesleyan. A student can only obtain this by successfully obtaining off-campus Status through the housing selection process. Typically, the only students who are released to off-campus status meet at least one of the following criteria: 25 years or older, married, have children, or have a specific medical accommodation need which cannot be met in campus housing. The housing selection process is only conducted once a year and must be completed each year that a student wants to live off-campus. Housing status/release does not guarantee release from the meal plan requirement. Requests should only be submitted after housing waiver had been granted.
- What happens when you run out of meals and you still want to eat at Usdan or Summerfields?
If you run out of block meals, you can always use your meal plan points, Middletown Cash, credit cards, debit cards or cash. Prices for the meals using the above tenders is posted at the registers.
- What happens when you run out of points? What happens at the end of Spring semester?
Students can go into their meal plan through their e portfolio and add points or Middletown cash at any time. Any remaining points and/or meals left after the final meal, Spring Semester (5/16/15 brunch) are forfeit. Points and meals cannot be used in the winter/summer sessions. Separate winter/summer meal plans are available for purchase.
- How do I add points to my plan?
You can add additional on-campus meal plan points in $25 increments which will be billed to your student account. Simply go to your student e-portfolio, sign-in, click on the Meal Plan Points link, and follow the directions to add your points. The last day to add additional on-campus meal plan points and have them billed to your student account is 5/6/15. Unused additional on-campus meal plan points at the end of fall semester will roll over for spring semester usage. The last day to use all additional on-campus meal plan points is 5/16/15 (brunch). Additional on-campus meal plan points do not roll over from year to year only Middletown Cash does. You may also add Middletown Cash on the My Accounts page above, which can be used both on campus as well as off campus at participating downtown merchants.
- How can I check my declining balance points balance?
You can find out your balance from the cashier each time you make a purchase, or even if you do not make a purchase, you can still ask the cashier to check your card to find out your balance. You also can go to the My Accounts page to view your balance and transaction history.
- Where can I find out how many meals I have left or used?
Each time you scan your card and you use a meal, the cashier can tell you how many meals you have used for the semester on any of the Block Meal Plans. Please remember that you have 7 guest meals designated if you are on a block plan. These will not show up in the total so you have to track them in order to use them.
- How do I change the meal block plan I have selected?
The fall semester meal plan can be changed from 9/1/14 - 9/12/14 and the spring semester from 12/9/14 - 2/4/15.
Also, if you do not make a block meal plan selection in your e-portfolio prior to the start of each semester, whatever plan you had during the previous semester will automatically be the plan you are enrolled for the upcoming semester. Upon starting your junior year you will automatically be enrolled in the all declining points program unless you elect to maintain a block meal plan, in which case you must access your e-portfolio and select one in the given time period.
- What are the hours for dining on campus?
The hours for dining on campus depend on the particular venue. For locations not managed by Bon Appetit, please see their individual websites.
Hours during regular class sessions (breaks are different):
Usdan Marketplace:M-F 8am-10am, 11am-3pm (limited options 2-3pm); 5-8pm; Sat. - Sun. 11am-2pm, 5-8pm
Usdan Late Night Dining: Sun. - Sat. 9:30pm - 1:00am (last orders at register no later than 1am)
Usdan Cafe: Sun. - Sat. 10am - 8pm
Daniel Family Commons: M-F 11:30am - 1:30pm (closed on occasion for special events)
Summerfields: M-F 11am - 2pm, 5:30-9pm, Sat. - Sun. 5:30-9pm
Pi Cafe: M-Th 8am-9pm, F 8am-5pm, Sat.-Sun. 1pm-6pm
Weshop: Sun.-Th. 12pm-12am, Fri.-Sat. 2-6pm
- Are the dining facilities opened during breaks?
During the Thanksgiving recess and spring break some cafe/store locations may operate with limited hours. These locations will only accept points or cash during these periods. Students who participate in plans with meals are encouraged to plan for these breaks if they are going to remain on campus. During the December break between Fall and Spring semester all dining/purchase locations on campus are closed. Dining closes for Fall semester after brunch on 12/13/14. For students participating in the Winter intrecession, winter break athletes and others who have an authorized reason to be on campus between 1/5/15 and 1/19/15 a separate dining plan may be available for purchase. Please visit your portfolio after 12/5/14 to make a selection under winter meal plans.
Addititionally dining services are norrmally closed during Fall break and meal usage is not factored in for that time period; however during academic year 2014-15 Homecoming occurs over Fall Break. If you elect to remain on campus that weekend you will be able to use your meal plan, HOWEVER, your weekly average will be less than advertised. Dining services will still be closed during Thanksgiving break.
- Is there a Kosher Program on campus?
Wesleyan runs a kosher dining station in Marketplace on the second floor of the Usdan Campus Center. The Shalom Salaam Kosher Eatery at Usdan Campus Center serves all you can eat kosher food. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, while school is in session. This eatery is under the rabbinic supervision of Rabbi David Teva.
- Are there Vegan dining options?
Wesleyan University was named the 2009 and 2013 Most Vegetarian-Friendly College in the United States by Peta2. According to the Peta2 website, “the acclaimed liberal arts college, which has a history of social justice activism, lives up to the hype when it comes to vegan options. Some of the creative choices offered include veggie chicken red curry with steamed broccolini and organic jasmine rice, three-mushroom vegan ragu with penne pasta, and barbecue seitan. Bon Appetit employs a talented chef who specializes in this delicious vegan fare, open to all who choose to enjoy it!
- Is there a Halal program on campus?
Students wishing to purchase Halal proteins may do so through bulk orders available at WesShop; additionally WesShop sells Halal to go meals which are very popular. In addition the Usdan Marketplace dinners, Monday thorugh Thursday Classics station is always Halal friendly (protein is Halal).
- I have Celiac Disease (or other medical issue)? What are my meal options?
We actually have a number of students who have Celiac Disease, severe gluten intoloerance, IBS or many other conditions that create a challenge when making dining choices, and are able to manage their eating quite well. It does take effort by the individual and for frosh there is frequently a learning curve as they learn to handle their meal needs and choices "completely" on their own. To that end we have a number of resources on campus that can assist students as they make the transition to determining meal choices away from home. First, we have a registered dietician on the staff of Bon Appétit, who we recommend be contacted once on campus. We always recommend that students who identify as having a particular medical issue that impacts meal choices meet with her right away as she will walk them through meal options, avoiding cross contamination, ingredients, etc. She will even review with the students what products are carried in the campus store, Weshop, as well as at our grab and go locations that are appropriate for her diet. Her name is Daniele Rossner, and her email is: Daniele.Rossner@cafebonappetit.com
(She is not on campus during the summer so contacting her beginning of Fall semester is best). Additionally we have a celiac/gluten free station in Usdan Marketplace that offers appropriate food.
- How are food allergies managed?
Bon Appetit is able to assist students with just about any allergy or medical condition that impacts diet and nutritional choices. Many ingredients are listed and we label as much as possible, although not all items can be labeled due to potential liabilities. Managers are always available at all dining locations whenever meals are being served so students and visitors always have resources available to them if they need to confirm certain ingredients or potential allergens. For more specific information link to the Allergies and Bon Appetit page the main dinng website.
For all special dining accomodations, it is recommended to meet with the Director of the Usdan University Center, Michelle Myers-Brown, Ph.D., to review your concerns. As the campus liaison to Bon Appetit, she can ccoordiante all support services for helping managing your dining needs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- How can I make suggestions for the dining program?
The administration and student representatives meet several times a month to review the dining program, menu items, specials, events, feedback, suggestions. etc. Please email any suggestions you would like brought forward to either firstname.lastname@example.org or the WSA Finance and Facilities Chair.
- Can students eat in the Daniel Family Commons?
The Daniel Family Commons is the Faculty/Staff Dining location on campus and is not a dining facility for students. Faculty have access to a voucher system which encourages them to bring small groups of students with them to the "DFC" on occasion for continued conversation on academic topics out of the classroom. Unless students are with a faculty member for an academic lunch or with an adminstrator for a lunch meeting, students are not supposed to utilize this dining space. Meal plans are not accepted in the DFC. With numerous other locations on campus available to students for meals and snacks, the DFC, which is only open for lunch, should be considered reserved for Faculty and Staff. New in the Fall of 2014 there will be one table within the DFC designated as the "Graduate student table". The table is not considered reserved for graduate students, unless a group of graduate students actually calls in a reservation; if the DFC is full anyone can sit at that table. Additionally if there is already a group utilizing that table, graduate students should plan on making alternate dining plans outside of the DFC for that day.
Reservations will be held for 15 minutes after which the table is released.