Dining Servies offers reimbursement

Anne Boyd

In response to continuing complaints about the Meal Plan Express (MPE) schedule changes, dining services has agreed to establish a reimbursement program for those affected during the initial transition period.

During the first week of February, students were taken aback by the seemingly sudden meal plan schedule changes at Holy Grounds in CEER and especially at the Belle Air Terrace in Connelly Center. The newly limited hours that the MPE was accepted caused many students to file complaints, and two weeks later, with the help of the Student Government Association, Dining Services responded to students’ concerns by reevaluating the schedule. The hours were expanded to be more accommodating to MPE users, commuters and teachers.

However, students were still not completely satisfied. Based on student reaction, SGA and Timothy Dietzler, the customer service coordinator of Villanova Dining Services, pondered a way to resolve the issue. From SGA, Frank Brogna, Chief of Staff, Renna Antonio, Concerns and Issues Chairperson, Diane Ditzel, Ed Dunne and Jess Anasti, Antonio’s committee members approached Dietzler with the idea of some sort of reimbursement plan. The result is an offer to rebate $10 in food points to meal plan participants that were impacted by the recent MPE restrictions.

“I like the fact that the problem was recognized and fixed, and that the University is doing something about the poor kids who were gypped,” said sophomore Megan Wahl in response to the compensation program.

Students will have one week to go to the Dining Services’ website and complete on online form requesting the $10 refund which will be deposited into their points account over spring break. Dietzler hopes to have the system up and advertised to students before spring break so that the transfer to accounts can take place while students are away.

The changes in the times that MPE is accepted were originally implemented to accommodate the large numbers of students, faculty and staff that don’t have meal plans and thus pay with cash. Since MPE had been previously accepted at Belle Air Terrace, the lines were becoming very long and the space was over-crowded. The Exchange and Belle Air Terrace were originally created to serve those not using a meal plan, and from 1997 until last semester MPE was accepted only on a limited basis at these places. However, due to a change in the Wildcard system used, the Belle Air Terrace MPE restrictions did not register, so students could use meals to pay at any time. Now, because of the recent reinstated restrictions, the system is recognizing the MPE and denying use during the peak hours.

Many students felt that the problem was the unexpected and untimely announcement of the MPE schedule change. Despite the changed hours and reimbursement program, some students still are not satisfied. “I don’t think it’s enough,” said sophomore Julie McCann. “Having meal plan anytime of the day was so much better because some people have class or work to go oto. So their limited time that they accept meal plan doesn’t fit into some people’s schedules.”

Dietzler encourages students to take full advantage of the three large dining halls on campus, St. Mary’s, Donahue and Dougherty that offer all-you-care-to-eat facilities.

The Italian Kitchen and Corner Grille still accept MPE all day for those looking for the flexibility of food to go.