Students react to Aramark contract

Erian Bradley

Three days after WKU released its letter of intent for a 20-year contract with Aramark for dining and catering services, freshman Haley Titzer walked past Guthrie Bell Tower on campus with her friend, wiping her face from rain, on her way to get food in Downing Student Union.

Titzer is among the many students at WKU who took advantage of the meal plans provided here on campus. She uses her meal swipes every day, and plans to continue paying for meal plans.

According to WKU’s press release on the new contract, the new plan would require full-time students not already on a meal plan to pay a $75 declining balance fee.

Titzer said although she uses the meal plans, she feels a fee shouldn’t be forced upon students who don’t.

“I was unaware that full-time students would have to pay a fee even if they don’t use meal plans.” Titzer said. “I think you should have a choice still, and if you choose to eat here on campus that’s a plus.”

According to a previous Herald article, Brian Kuster, vice president of student affairs, said the contract includes renovation of the Garrett Conference Center, and the $75 fee will aid in covering those costs.

The fee will roll over to the next semester if students do not use the entire balance to purchase food on campus. Freshman Ellery Denny said she understands what WKU is trying to do and agrees with the decision.

“They have to pay to renovate the building somehow, which from what I hear is a lot of money,” Denny said. “The smartest thing to do would be to charge the students; we’re the ones who use the restaurants the most.”

Taylor Stewart is a junior who uses meal plans on campus, but has friends who aren’t as happy with the new development.

“One of my friends lives here on campus, but she doesn’t eat on campus because she dislikes the food,” Stewart said. “I understand the reasoning, but I’m a commuter and it doesn’t make sense to make students pay for something we didn’t ask for.”

Freshman John Sweetall is neutral in his opinion on the new plan. He uses a meal plan and agrees it can be effective for students living on campus. He said there are improvements needed at the dining facilities provided.

“I use a meal plan, and it works for me … I use the two swipes a day,” Sweetall said. “But if you’re going to require a fee there should be a huge improvement on food services here on campus … sometimes the facilities are hostile and the food’s not even that good.”

Reporter Erian Bradley can be reached at (270) 745-0655 and [email protected].