Changes coming to meal plans, dining operations

Campus Dining to implement mobile ordering and timed seating, among other changes

campusdining1

Big changes are coming to campus dining next semester.

On Wednesday, UB released meal plan details for the fall 2020 semester. Students can expect a different dining experience when they return to campus, including mobile ordering, timed seating options and new-grab-and-go sites.

A number of campus eateries will be temporarily closed next semester, including Seasons (CFA), Baldy Walkway Café, Whispers at Capen, Bert’s and NY Deli and Diner (Talbert), Mrs. Rich’s (NSC), The Bowl (Ellicott) and the Apothecary Café and Whispers at Abbott on South Campus.

The Goodyear and Governors Dining Centers, which have served as all-you-care-to-eat facilities in years’ past, will become retail operations that offer brunch, lunch and dinner. C3 will be open nightly for dinner, beginning at 4:30 p.m., and will use a zoned and timed reservation system through the GET app.

Students will have 45 minutes to dine in one of four zones at C3. Each zone has 50 socially-distanced seats that “will be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized for the next timed reservation group to enjoy,” Raymond Kohl, marketing director for Campus Dining & Shops wrote in an email.

With the NY Deli and Diner, UB’s only kosher eatery, closed for the fall semester, Campus Dining is working to have kosher foods available in Grab ‘N Go coolers and at several locations across campus.

Students will be required to wear face masks unless they are sitting at least six feet apart from others. They may remove their masks while eating or drinking, but are strongly encouraged to otherwise wear their face coverings when entering or exiting a dining area.

Additionally, UB is making some changes to its meal plan system. All freshmen living on campus will automatically be enrolled in the Flex 14 plan, which includes 14 meals per week and 425 dining “points” — previously dining “dollars” — per semester.

According to Kohl, “with the reduction of [the] on-campus population,” UB has moved away from the Flex 19 plan, which offered students 19 meals per week and 250 dining dollars. As The Spectrum has previously reported, freshmen living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan and already had limited flexibility in what they could purchase.

Upperclassmen will have four meal plan options next semester, including the Flex 14 plan, Flex 10 plan (10 meals per week and 280 dining points), Flex 7 plan (seven meals per week and 240 dining points) and Upperclassmen Dining Points plan (950 dining points for the entire year).

Plans were priced based on the 13-week fall semester, since in-person instruction will end prior to Thanksgiving. But dining points will remain active for students remaining on campus for the final weeks of the semester and roll over to the spring semester, according to Kohl.

Students will continue to be able to use two meal swipes per meal period, although they will be limited to one meal exchange per transaction, since that is all that the GET App allows.

Kohl says campus dining will be a fluid operation next semester. COVID-19 will play a large role in determining what can be open.

“As the semester progresses, we will evaluate service levels and styles and make changes as necessary with guidance from the Erie County Health Department, the NYS Dept. of Health and the CDC,” Kohl wrote.

Justin Weiss is the senior features editor and can be reached at justin.weiss@ubspectrum.com

JUSTIN WEISS


Justin Weiss is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or doing both at the same time. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald.