Over the past several weeks, administrators at NYU Abu Dhabi and ADNH Compass have been working tirelessly to offer improvements to the student dining experience. After a series of discussions and debates with the Dining Committee of Student Government, these changes are planned to arrive around Nov. 2. The plan comes after acknowledgement of student input on this important issue. The best part of the plan is that it is able to offer students increased choice and flexibility without taking away any of the options they currently have.
Students have been asking for the ability to spend a single meal swipe as if it were 30 AED. That change will be here under the new plan. For some students this means you can go to the dining hall and purchase 30 bottles of water, but it also means that it should be easier for students to combine the food choices at different sections of the dining hall and so long as the cost does not exceed 30 dirhams, one swipe will apply. If the cost does exceed 30 AED, a swipe plus the difference in Campus Dirhams or cash will work.
Students have also sought more flexibility in the way the plan is offered. The change in policy will reflect this. Similar to a Flex plan on the Square, students will soon be provided with a mix of meal club swipes and Campus Dirhams each week. Students will be allotted 14 swipes and 210 Campus Dirhams each week. For those students who like to enjoy buffet style meals at every meal, access to the Meal Club buffet can be purchased for 30 AED. And for those students who often do not use all of their meal plans or buy their breakfast food at the convenience store, fewer meal swipes and more Campus Dirhams means more buying power. These dirhams do not expire until the end of the semester.
Other elements of the meal plan will remain the same. Many students enjoy the wide variety of options at breakfast, eating at the meal club buffet and rotating counter of the day and having access to food until 11 p.m.. Starbucks in the dining hall will remain a part of the system.
The roll out of the new system may come with a few challenges. There will be the struggle of figuring out something new and responding to changes. But the changes, made after strong consultation with students, are well worth the small adjustment period that will come. The biggest challenge for some students may be quickly deciding whether they will charge their meals as a swipe versus Campus Dirham. It is up to students to be able to make this decision.
What we are witnessing with these dining adjustments is the presence of an administration that is willing to listen, assess and respond to students. Student concerns related to the dining hall have not fallen on deaf ears and we are incredibly lucky to be a part of designing a new dining system for our campus. More information will be released prior to the planned Nov. 2 rollout. With your help and patience in responding to these desirable changes, I will be happy to be able to say that this was a successful example of student–administration joint action.
Corey Meyer is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.