Rolling Over Brown University Flex Points to 2021-2022 School Year

Rolling Over Brown University Flex Points to 2021-2022 School Year

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Emily Faulhaber started this petition to Brown Dining Services

Since the pandemic, freshmen at Brown University have been required to buy the 20 meal credits per week dining plan. As a part of this meal plan, students are also required to purchase $200 of Flex Points that can be used at various eateries on campus. However, these locations have all but disappeared due to pandemic closures. Flex Points can only be used to replace meal credits at Andrews Dining Hall, Sharpe Refectory and at a select few vending machines around campus.

We understand that traditionally, Flex Points do not roll over from year to year. However, due to the incredibly unique nature of the past year, we request that Flex Points be rolled over to the 2021-2022 school year, with the assumption that the Blue Room, the Ivy Room, Campus Store, etc. will be operating normally and there will be ample opportunity to use Flex Points appropriately.

In response to a student email, Brown Dining Services has cited the “unique” circumstances we are facing this year as a reason they cannot roll Flex Points to next year, stating, “There are times when more meal support may be needed, and our meal plan offers students this capacity built into the meal plan.” However, the restricted usability of Flex Points prevents Brown Dining Services from providing the same level of “meal support” as in past years. A poll of 379 Brown University freshmen that asked students “How often do you use all 20 meal credits by the end of the week?” revealed 342 students never utilize all 20 meal credits by the end of the week.  34 students reported “sometimes” utilizing all 20 meal credits and just 3 said “always.” A major reason for this is that, during summer 2021, the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall is closed to enrolled students in order to accommodate incoming pre-college students residing on campus. With a substantial portion of summer students living on North Campus coupled with Andrews Dining Hall being closed for breakfast, many freshmen are forgoing meals, particularly breakfast, because they do not have a half hour or more to retrieve food from Sharpe Refectory between classes. Therefore from this information, we conclude that the utilization of flex points as an extra meal is not an issue students currently face.

Furthermore, rolling over the $400 in flex points that students directly pay for does not reduce their ability to buy a meal this semester; in fact, it only increases their ability to buy meals next semester. If faculty wants to “make sure that no one on the meal plan goes without the resources they need through the semester,” they should increase the usability of flex points. Students can then make the decision if they want to use these dollars this semester or next semester, when there will be more options.

Brown University has repeatedly proved their ability to adapt. Almost everything this semester has been changed in some way to accommodate the circumstances, including classes, quiet period, dorm living, and even dining services themselves. They certainly have the ability to roll over flex points to the 2021-2022 school year. Like Brown has said over and over again: this is a unique year. So in exceptional situations, make exceptions.

 

 

 

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