After a year of dorm food, Evan Boxberger is ready for a change.
"I enjoy the variety they offer," said Boxberger, a freshman from Olathe. "But now I'm getting very, very sick of it."
Boxberger said he dined at Mrs. E's -- the three-level, 700-seat Ekdahl Dining Commons adjacent to Lewis Hall -- almost every day his freshman year. He said he would like more flexibility in meal selection.
Meal plans in 2004-2005 will be less restrictive, said Nona Golledge, assistant director of student dining services.
"The plans just keep getting better and more flexible," she said. "For several years it was just the traditional plan where the student contracted so many meals per week, now they have the opportunity for the cash on the card.
"They can utilize that cash (KU Cuisine cash) anywhere on campus."
KU Cuisine cash, the newest feature of meal plans for first-time freshmen, is stored on a student's KU identification card. Incoming freshmen will choose from three plans that include a combination of meals in student dining centers and at designated campus locations. Golledge said students would receive a 10 percent discount with KU Cuisine cash at the campus locations.
The Market in the Kansas Union is among places on campus that will accept KU Cuisine cash. The food court underwent a $500,000 renovation two years ago and has various options for students, including national chains Pizza Hut, Summit Subs and Burger King.
Students also will be able to eat at the food court at Wescoe Terrace, which will be renovated this summer.
Golledge said merging housing dining services with union dining services created a convenient meal plan.
"Part of the reason for the merge was making it more flexible for students to utilize the services," she said. "Their options are enhanced and we are excited about that."
When students are not using their KU cash, they can eat at the three dining halls on campus: GSP Dining Center at Gertrude Sellards Pearson Residence Hall; Oliver Dining Center at Oliver Residence Hall; or Ekdahl Dining Commons.
When students pick a plan, Golledge said they should decide how many meals they would use per week in the cafeteria-style dining centers.
Golledge recommends first-time freshmen choose between three meal plans:
- Rock Chalk 500 plan, which costs $3,050, provides 500 meals a year -- about 15 meals per week -- and $100 KU Cuisine cash.
- Jayhawk 400 plan, which costs $2,640, provides 400 meals a year -- 12 meals per week -- and $200 KU Cuisine cash.
- Go KU 320 plan offers nine meals per week in the dining hall and $300 KU cash for $2,316.
Although the meal plan choices are listed as meals per week, Golledge said a student could swipe their card as many times as they wanted per day, but each time they do, they use a meal.
"Since these are new meal plans we don't have any history to go by," she said. "So, if students find out that they are running low on meals they can purchase more in blocks of 10."
All incoming freshmen who live in the residence halls were required to have a meal plan because their facilities did not have individual kitchens. Despite more room to maneuver with meal plans, Golledge said she still wanted new students to enjoy some meals in the dining halls.
"If they have more meals in the dining center it encourages community building and interaction for the freshmen," she said.
And when dining at one of the three residence halls, options are not limited for students. Mrs. E's offers eight to 10 entrees for lunch and dinner, and has a salad and sandwich bar. Although Mrs. E's is the largest dining center, the other two dining halls offer options that make them unique. Oliver Dining Hall students can choose ingredients to have rice bowls made for them on the spot.
The changes are mouthwatering to Boxberger, who endured the final year of the old meal plans.
"I would have been ecstatic if they would have let me have all those choices," he said.