One of the top-rated ideas on IdeaScale is “From Flex Passes to Points” which states, “Currently you can spend $7 worth of points on one flex pass, but you can not go the oposite way! The meal plans come with sometimes an abudance of flex passes that go unused. Allowing us to switch would not be a great debt to the dining services because they are trading a $7 all you can eat for a fixed amount of food per money.”
Here is a response to the idea from Dennis Pierce, Director of Dining Services. The general message seems to be that if we were to allow conversion of flex passes into points, the price of meal plans would need to be increased. USG will continue looking into this issue to see if this is true, and if so, if the student body would allowing conversion and increasing meal plan costs.
Flex passes were created to be used for “guest meals” and to be spent at in the Department’s Grab & Go’s. The Grab and Goes offerings that have been created to be used with flex passes are items that we make in house or have a less expensive price point. That way we have control of the raw food costs as they relate to the value of the raw cost of a flex pass. For example we serve fountain beverage vs. bottled soda. At our Cafés and the Union Street Market are margins are higher thus the use points vs. flex passes. However, that being said we are looking to see if we can change the structure of points vs flex passes for the fall. We need to determine the proper mix that will be financially feasible.
Meal plans are priced with a consideration of a “missed meal factor” and the use of points and flex passes. If the participation rate is higher and more flex passes / points are used then the cost of the plan would have to be higher. Thus the “cash out” of points or flex passes at the end of the semester would not be feasible under the current model. Students can participate in making a donation using a flex pass during our Give A Meal program that occurs every semester. This event benefits the Covenant Soup Kitchen, the No Freeze Shelter and also funds the transportation costs for the nontraditional breaks.