February 15, 2019 | 34° F

Dining halls offer unlimited swipes, more options with new Scarlet Plan

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

So far more than 100 students have registered for Scarlet Plan, a new meal plan that offers unlimited swipes to the campus dining halls. Interested students have until Sept. 18 to sign up.

There is something new at the dining halls this semester, and it is not the food.

Scarlet Plan, a new meal plan offered by Rutgers Dining Services, offers students unlimited swipes and access to the four campus dining halls, for the same price as the 285-swipe meal plan.

Nelson E. Gonzalez, assistant director of Marketing and Communications for Rutgers Dining Services, said that the plan came to fruition for many reasons, one of which is the trend of eating several small meals (5-6) throughout the day. 

“We have been told by many students that they ‘budget their swipes’ throughout the semester instead of using them freely as the other plans are designed,” Gonzalez said. "By doing this, the result is that many students have leftover swipes that could have been used earlier in the semester if there was no ‘budgetary’ mindset."

Students now have until Sept. 18 to switch to the Scarlet Plan this fall.

The cost is $2,751 per semester, the same as the 285-swipe plan, so students who wish to upgrade would only have to pay the difference between their current plan and the Scarlet Plan price.

The way it works is that students who sign up for the Scarlet Plan have unlimited access to dine-in at any of the four dining halls, and also 250 Dining Dollars to spend at any other Rutgers Dining Services locations that accept meal swipes, Nelson said. 

“We created dining dollars because we wanted to continue giving the students the flexibility just like our other meal plans,” he said. “The beauty of Dining Dollars is that, unlike a traditional $9 swipe at a place like Cook Cafe, a student pays dollar for dollar. So if they want to go and just grab a coffee, they can do so with Dining Dollars.”

He said that the Executive Director of Rutgers Dining Services Joe Charette, spoke to several universities that offer an unlimited meal-swipe option in their dining halls and found that many students at other universities liked the option.

This, alongside feedback, led to the unlimited offering, Nelson said.

“We want the students to know that if they want to just stop in to a dining hall for 5 minutes just to grab a coffee and a banana that they can do so without worrying that they are ‘wasting a swipe’ with the Scarlet Plan,” he said.  

Rutgers Dining Services is piloting the program for the 2018-2019 academic year, he said. They will look at the data at year’s end to decide whether to continue it.

To date, more than 100 students have already signed up.

“Having the Scarlet Plan eliminates this stress of both budgeting swipes and having any remaining swipes to spend at the end of the semester,” Nelson said. “At the end of the day, students have to deal with many stresses in college, and we do not want food to be one of them.” 

Ryan Stiesi

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