Anytime Dining comes to Mason next fall

Anytime Dining allows unlimited access to Southside and the new dining facility replacing Ike's (photo by Walter Martinez).
Anytime Dining allows unlimited access to Southside and the new dining facility replacing Ike's (photo by Walter Martinez).

All you can eat, when you want to eat it. 

That’s the motto of the new Anytime Dining system that Mason Dining will be implementing next fall.

On Nov. 7, the student senate passed a resolution that expressed support of this dining plan. The resolution was submitted by Stacy Fleming, the chairwoman of the University Services Committee.

This new system will provide unlimited entrances to both Southside and the newly renovated Ike’s. With the current Ultimate Plan, students must wait thirty minutes after each swipe to re-enter a dining facility; this restriction will not exist under Anytime Dining. Students who switch to an Anytime Dining plan will need Bonus dollars or Mason Money to purchase food from any other vendor on campus. Some members of the senate expressed concern of overcrowding in the fall.

“This is something I have been opposed to,” senator David Bosserman said during the meeting. “They said we don’t have the capacity to do it and I don’t think we should transition to this.”

Secretary of University Services Matthew Short said he could see this being an issue if a lot of students switch to the plan.

“If it is a complete success I think we will see an issue with overcrowding,” Short said.

“All incoming freshman will have to buy into the plan [or choose a Freedom Plan]. It’s more a question of how many upperclassman switch. Southside is still going to be larger than new Ike’s. I believe it’s by another 100 or so seats.”

This problem and others, according to Short, are to be expected in the preliminary phases of the transition; however, he believes the new system will be more beneficial than the current unlimited plan in the long run.

 “I’ve been involved with this for four years...It’s not going to be perfect. In the long’s not going to be a hassle...[You will be able to] eat as much as you want when you want,” Short said. “You hear people go, ‘I can only afford the bare minimum.’ This [new plan] will allow you to go in, and if you want a bowl of cereal, eat a bowl of cereal. If you want a five course meal, go in and make a five course meal.”

Incoming freshmen will have a choice between one of the Anytime Dining plans and a Freedom Plan. Upperclassmen will have a choice to stay with their current plan or switch to another option. All classes except the current freshman class will have this choice every year through graduation; the current freshman class will have to choose between a new plan and Freedom Plan for their senior year.

“The idea was to promote community, so say you’re walking out of Southside and see your friends walking, you can join them,” said David Jarrell, Undersecretary of Dining Services. “It’s meant to give more flexibility to the students.”

“We believe once the system is up and running it will be the best system on this campus for what we want to do,” Short said. “We are trying to be ahead of the curve and make students want to experience dining on campus.”

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