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Brandeis ends the use of meal periods

In an email sent to Brandeis students on Tuesday, Oct. 25, Brandeis’ Campus Card Office announced the end of meal periods. “Effective Monday October 31, 2022,” the email reads, “students with a Traditional Meal Plan (10, 12, 15, 19) will no longer be restricted to only one meal per meal period.” 


According to an online conversation with The Brandeis Hoot, Student Union Director of Media and Outreach Carol Kornworcel ’26 said that this “improvement [was] pushed by the Student Union Dining Committee and the Director of Residential Life.” She credited Lotem Sagi ’24, the Student Union’s Director of Residential Life, and James Brosgol ’25, Chair of the Student Union Dining Committee, for spearheading this change.


Brosgol said in an email exchange with The Hoot that when meal periods are in place, students are not given proper flexibility. “Whether it’s class times, meetings, athletic practices, other obligations, or one’s personal preference, people have all sorts of stuff going on that shapes if/when they are able to eat during the day,” he said. On the chance that students’ meal access is restricted, they “may be left unable to get a meal during their window of opportunity because their previous meal was recent enough that the rules preclude it.”


In the same email exchange, Sagi added that “students using the traditional meal plans (a certain number of meals per week that are reset) pay for a number of meals per week. If they are unable to access the dining hall, they often don’t use the amount of meals they pay for, which is a problem. 


According to the Campus Card Office’s website, “a guest meal or points [would have been] deducted as payment for a second or third meal during the same meal period” while the meal swipe period system was in place. Sagi mentioned that students with traditional meal plans “will [still] have the same amount of meal swipes per week, but will now be able to use them whenever the dining halls are open. For students who have block plans, there will not be any change.”


The meal periods ran from 7-9:59 a.m., 10-10:59 a.m., 11 a.m.-2:29 p.m., 2:30-4:59 p.m., 5-9 p.m. (Friday ends at 8 p.m.) and 9:01 p.m.-3 a.m. on weekdays. They lasted from 9:30 a.m.-2:29 p.m., 2:30 p.m.- 4:59 p.m., 5 p.m. -7:59 p.m. and 8 p.m.-3 a.m. on weekends.

The email asks that students “Be aware that as you use your meals during multiple periods you may run out of meals quicker than in the past,” and recommends “monitoring your transactions in GET.”


Brosgol added that the discontinuation of meal periods has been “in the works for 2-3 weeks,” and Sagi added that “this change came about faster than [they] expected.”


Brosgol summarized the change by saying that “the crucial improvement is that people who want or need to eat at closer intervals now can, and that people with meal swipes left over at the later end of the week can now use them rather than let them go to waste. Moving forward, timing can no longer prevent a student from getting into the dining hall if they have the meal swipes to do so. This policy change institutes a crucial element of personal freedom and choice that eliminates the possibility of students being locked out.”


“In terms of food access, health, and cost, this change was extremely necessary,” Sagi concluded, “and I’m really happy we could make it happen.”


According to another email sent to Brandeis community members on Oct. 26, Harvest Table is now technically unable to make this change. The email reads “We apologize for the miscommunication, but due to a system issue we are unable to modify the meal period restrictions as originally intended. Please know we are exploring additional options to correct the ordering issue students are currently experiencing when placing orders with the Starship App. We will provide updates as we are able. Thank you in advance for your anticipated understanding.”

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