Why meal swipes should cover off campus dining


Cass Tolliver

At Vines Bakery, students can enjoy coffee and pastries without having to leave campus.

Cass Tolliver

Being an upperclassman at Ashland University comes with many perks— one of those being the meal swipes meal plan rather than the unlimited meal plan for Convo. These meal swipes can be used at Convo, Eagles nest, Tuffy’s smoothie bar and the Schar cafe.

While those are all great options, sometimes the food on campus gets to be repetitive. Students eat the same food for two semesters of the year and then do it all over again starting in the fall.

In my opinion, meal swipes should be able to be used at local restaurants and coffee shops. If this were the case, I feel like more students would be more likely to purchase the meal plan with the highest number of meal swipes since they could use them for local places as well.

As students get older and live in the senior apartments, or even off campus, they tend to purchase the least expensive meal plan with the least amount of swipes, or do not purchase one at all. Having meal swipes for off campus dining could potentially turn that around.

Some local restaurants that could participate in this are Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell, Eva’s Treats, Whit’s Frozen Custard, Wendy’s and any others that would be willing. Along with those, some local coffee shops that could participate are Vines Bakery and Downtown Perk.

“I believe having the opportunity to let students use meal swipes for local dining options around Ashland would improve the overall business in Ashland,” junior Jessica Zaper said.

If this were a dining option for students at AU, prospective students may be more interested in coming here. Having the option to use meal swipes off campus can be seen as an attraction, and could be a selling point for potential students when they are visiting.

“Most students want to eat off campus at least a few times a week, so if students could use meal swipes to get their off campus meals then it would actually be helping the city of Ashland,” Zaper said.

Other universities, such as Ohio State, are already implementing this idea on their campus. While OSU is a much bigger campus than AU, this is one way to stay competitive in the Ohio college search.

Students at AU try to use all of their swipes each semester so that there are none left over, but sometimes run into difficulties in doing so.

“Students feel like they have so many extra swipes left that kind of just go to waste, so it could solve the problem by giving students another way to use their extra swipes,” Zaper said.

Allowing meal swipes to be used at local dining options would benefit the students and the local businesses. While this would be a huge adjustment for AU, it would have positive outcomes for more people than just the students.

If meal swipes could be used at certain places off campus, students would have more of a variety of choices for dining, local dining options would make more money, and AU would be able to compete with bigger universities to potential students.