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Preferred Dining Rates Increase This Semester

By Hanhan Wang

The preferred dining plan increased to $300 this semester, a $50 increase from last year’s price. The extra money goes toward Baker Dining’s increased service and higher labor costs, according to Richard D. Berlin III, director of campus dining. Baker Dining is now open seven nights a week, up from five nights last year.

The last price hike for preferred dining was a $25 increase to $250 per semester in Fall 2005.

Most students living in Baker House, Simmons Hall, McCormick Hall, and Next House are automatically enrolled in the preferred dining plan, which gives them a 50 percent discount on purchases at the dining halls.

Berlin said that the new fees were published in Orientation brochures for the incoming freshmen class. Students in the four dormitories with dining halls are required to pay regardless, so Berlin didn’t think it was necessary to largely publicize the issue.

Some students were disappointed by the lack of communication over the price increase. Many students, however, do not seem troubled by the price hike.

“I didn’t mind it because I would be in Simmons anyway doing work,” Raffaela Wafeman ’08 said. Wafeman who lived in Simmons Hall during her freshman and sophomore years. “During freshman year, me and my friends ate together all the time.”

Berlin notes that “prices have not significantly changed on the menu over the last three years.” The check average, or what a person spends each day on average, has also stayed consistent. Last year, the check average without the 50 percent discount was $7.80. This year, the average student spends $8 without discount, which reaches Campus Dining’s target of $4 with discount.

The preferred dining plan began in 2002 with the opening of Simmon’s dining hall. “The intent of the program is to give a financial incentive to eat together,” Berlin said.

Hockfield’s initiative for a “living and learning” community also focuses on building communities through dining together.