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The mandatory unlimited meal plan for incoming first-year students will be implemented next year, while the rest of the proposed dining plan will continue to be revised by the administration in response to student feedback.

According to an email from USG, the mandatory unlimited meal plan is the only portion of the proposal going into effect next year.

Rachel Yee ’19, president of the Undergraduate Student Government, said that the reasoning behind making the unlimited plan mandatory for all first years was partially to ensure that none of them would be excluded from the culture around Late Meal.

“The mandatory unlimited meal plan instituted for first years next year is intended to be a pilot,” they wrote. “No changes will be made to other dining plans at this time.”

The original proposed plan received significant pushback from students.  Many students took issue with the fact that the proposed plan seemed to strongly deter many students from joining co-ops or going independent.

“There are people who go independent because that is more affordable for them; they are doing that to specifically avoid having a dining hall plan,” said Sally Ruybalid ’21. “It would have been detrimental to those people.”

Yee said she received well over 300 student comments in response to the plan, which she presented to the administration. 

“I’m very glad they took student input into consideration,” said Yee. “Over 150 people came to the feedback sessions in person, and they really took that to heart and they’re going back to the drawing board.”

According to Yee, the administration is planning to take all feedback they’ve received, synthesize it, and begin redrafting over the summer.

“I really think the intention behind the original plan was good, but the implementation was not,” said Yee. “As to what the plan is going to look like going forward, that is to be determined.”

The Princeton University Board Plan Review is the committee currently revisiting dining on campus. Dan Day, Assistant Vice President for Communications at the University and a member of the review, wanted to emphasize that the the current proposal is very much a work in progress.

“It was a proposal, not a formal plan to move forward,” said Day.  “Everything else will be taken under advisement, and we’ll still look for feedback from students this term and presumably when we come back in the fall.”

According to both Day and Yee, this is the first effort to reevaluate dining on campus in well over a decade. Day added that in that time the student body has changed markedly, and a dining plan for that student body needs to change accordingly.

The steering committee that created the proposal to evaluate the plan is scheduled to Monday, April 30 to go through the results of the feedback, according to Day.

Day noted that there were more focus groups currently in the works, one of which would be specifically talking to first generation and low-income students to get further feedback and ideas.

“The discussion will continue,” said Day. “We want to get this plan right for all the students we can.”

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