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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 28, 1997

Meal plans cater to 'on campus, high volume' customers

For students living on campus there is now an alternative to the regular All Aboard meal plan, but the alternative comes with a price.

David Galbraith, dining services director, has created an addition to the standard All Aboard meal plan. The first of the two new plans is called, All Aboard Plus A. The A plan requires an initial deposit of no less than $750 and the student would then receive a five percent discount on every purchase made on their All Aboard account. The second plan, Plus B, requires an initial deposit of $1,000 and the student would then receive a 10 percent discount on every purchase.

However, when a student chooses to enroll in one of the All Aboard Plus program, they are informed of the restrictions that come with each of those meal plans.

Neither of the Plus plans allows for a withdrawal of funds from the account, Galbraith said. In addition, if a balance is left on the card at the end of the semester, the student forfeits that amount to dining services.

The only way for a student to receive a refund for their Plus account balance is if the student withdraws from the university or in emergency situations, Galbraith said.

He added that students will still have the choice of the regular All Aboard plan, in which a balance left at the end of one semester simply rolls-over to the next. There is also no minimum balance for the original All Aboard plan.

"People who need to change their mind use All Aboard," Galbraith said.

All of the All Aboard programs will continue to offer a tax exemption to students using the card.

Galbraith said the new Plus programs are designed specifically for those students living on campus and high-volume customers.

"This is geared mostly towards residence hall students. It (the Plus program) is designed for students who are going to spend the money," Galbraith said.

Galbraith said by creating the no-refund policy, and stating it up front, the student is forced to spend the money on food. He also said dining services planned to have shelf-stable items available for sale to students, such as cases of Snapple and pounds of Starbucks coffee.

While Galbraith sees this new program as a benefit to students, not all students see it (the Plus program) in the same light.

"The food is not that good here. I wouldn't have used it (the required amount for Plus)," said Marti Halperin, undecided freshman.

"I would never use it (Plus), it's a waste," said Lauren Rifkin, undecided freshman.

Galbraith and dining services held sessions for parents at all orientation sessions over the summer explaining the new program and how it would work. Galbraith said his office is discouraging potentially low-volume customers from enrolling in the Plus program in order to avoid potential problems with refund questions.

"We are discouraging low-volume customers from choosing the Plus program, we can't afford to give the discount for low volume customers," Galbraith said.

Galbraith created the two new plans after his arrival to dining services last April.

"When I came here April first there was only one meal plan. There was a need for additional programs," Galbraith said.

Galbraith is also hoping to add new options for the meal plan in the next academic year.

Galbraith said at other West Coast schools meal plans costing an average $2,100 a year, the University of Arizona program is at the lower end of the spectrum.

"We are to trying to get students to face the reality that you can't eat for $500 a semester," Galbraith said.

Not all students subscribe to that theory.

Halperin and Rifkin said they only had $300 on their All Aboard accounts when the semester began.

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