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Skip the meal plan

Appalled by cost of last year’s new MIT meal plan, I decided to learn to cook for myself. In two semesters, I saved about $2,180.66.* Now I want to encourage MIT students to consider if the meal plan is right for them.

I believe MIT students can pour their own Cheerios and know enough math to understand that $12 to $13 for dinner — which is more expensive than some local restaurants — is way too much.

I was actually on the old meal plan my freshman year (and mainly satisfied) before it was completely redone. Underclassmen should check out http://sayno.mit.edu to understand just how upset MIT students and alumni were at the high costs, inflexibility, and lack of student input of the current meal plan.

I hope MIT will use student input to seriously reconsider its meal plan. In the meantime, hear are five benefits of skipping the meal plan:

1.) You can save $$$ for college tuition.

2.) You can skip the freshman 15.

3.) You can send a message to MIT that their meal plan needs to change.

4.) You can learn to cook with friends.

5.) You can donate some of your savings to a charity or innovative idea of your choice.

I successfully avoided Ramen Noodles for all but maybe three times, ate a healthy diet, and had over two large boxes of food left over at the end of the year. My freshman friends left the dining plan after one semester because they found they did not even eat all the meals they had purchased.

Do the math. Skip the meal plan. Change period is September 2 - 20.

*This is based on the basic 12 meal plan from the 2012-2013 school year with a great deal of sales shopping. Actual savings is underestimated because the cost of extra lunch/weekend meals with the meal plan is not considered. Note: it looks like meal plan prices have actually risen for the coming year.

Jonathan Abbott ’14