Caf dilemma is a two-way street

Students must be respectful, dining should consider different meal plan options


File photo by Anna Mateffy

Story by Meghan Hosely, Copy Editor

In my short time of writing for The Spectator, I have gotten the opportunity to write various articles on a multitude of topics. Each has been a challenge in its own way, but some have stuck out more than others.

Whatever story I have been a part of, I have always picked them because I found them interesting. One of the most interesting stories I have written was a story I wrote last week about stealing from the caf.

The more I uncovered, the more questions I kept asking myself. I believe there are two ways this can be resolved, and the first part of the problem relates to students. Most, if not all students on campus are adults, so everyone should start acting like it. It absolutely appals me to hear about people getting caught for stealing food out of the caf  whether or not they agree it’s stealing – they take out their frustrations on the workers busting them.

Catching people for stealing food is the cafeteria worker’s job. They aren’t doing it just because they can; they’re told to. This leaves no excuse for anyone to treat someone poorly.

But other than students being more respectful, maybe the dining office should look at different meal plan options in the future, or even different security methods.

I have been in the UW-Whitewater dining halls a few times in the past year, and I have noticed little cubbies before the desk where students swipe their cards. The purpose of these cubbies is to hold backpacks or other personal belongings.

Having space for backpacks available outside the dining area automatically cuts down on the amount of food being taken out of the cafeteria because students don’t have a place to store the food they’re taking.

Some students might say they aren’t comfortable with their backpacks being stowed out of their line of vision, which could be a valid argument. But if you can leave your study materials unattended in the library or your dorm and not worry, I don’t think you have to worry about your backpack being stolen from the caf.

I know it costs money and there might be a lack of space to construct cubbies similar to the ones in the Whitewater dining halls, but it’s an idea.

And if having unlimited access to the caf is the problem, I think it’s worth Blugold Dining’s time to look at other meal plan options.The upper campus meal plan, which has unlimited access to the caf and $100 declining dollars is $1,560 per semester.

Other schools in the UW system, such as UW- La Crosse, has a set amount of swipes per week. Their most expensive meal plan, the Basic 19, offers 19 meals a week and $75 worth of campus cash, which I’m assuming is similar to our declining dollars. Three of the 19 swipes can also be used as guest meals, and the plan altogether costs $1,205.

UW-Madison, on the other hand, doesn’t have a set meal plan. Instead, students put money on their WisCard, the same as our Blugold Card. Their dining halls mirror Davies Center: students go in and get food, then pay for it.

A dining office representative from Madison said students typically put $300 on their cards every three months, which averages to about $800 a year.

Even though there are pros and cons to changing the meal plans at UW-Eau Claire, it’s definitely something I think the dining office should look into. The costs of the plans could be reduced, and maybe the amount of swipes students are granted correlates to how often they have the ability to steal food.

I’m no expert on any of this, but to me, this mess seems like it’s just going to keep spiraling downward, which accomplishes nothing in terms of fixing the problem. Students need to start accepting the rules, and dining should consider revamping their meal plans to see if it correlates with stealing in the caf.