Campus Dining Services introduce “unlimited swipes”

While the Spring semester brings with it many notable changes, the new “unlimited swipes” dining hall policy is likely to be the most lauded.
Sodexo, the food services company utilized in the campus dining halls, has revealed a system allowing for unlimited dining hall access to Colby. Starting on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at least one dining hall will be open between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and students will be able to swipe in multiple times during each meal period.
Previously, the College operated on a 21-meal per week system, where students had to swipe their Colby ID to enter the dining halls and were only allotted one entrance per each meal time. This system was not conducive to a variety of meal schedule preferences, and students have long requested a revision to the meal plan.
Director of Dining Services at Sodexo Larry Llewellyn explained that the main purpose of allowing unlimited swipes is to increase dining convenience and relieve stress for students. In an interview, Llewellyn said that the wider dining hall access will accommodate many types of students, from diabetic students to those who simply prefer to eat smaller meals multiple times a day.
Not only does the system promote healthy eating habits, but it is also designed to reduce stress on students: “No one should have to worry about loading up on food because they don’t know when they will be able to eat again,” Llewellyn said. “I see so many students who feel they need to have huge dinners at 5 p.m. because they are worried they won’t be able to eat again until the next morning at 8 a.m. This kind of stress is unhealthy and unnecessary.”
Because of these changes, the dining halls have implemented rules to limit the amount of consumption. Students are only allowed to take one item from the dining hall when they leave, meaning there’s less of an ability to pack lunch or snacks to eat anywhere else on campus. In addition, many of the Sodexo workers at the card swiping desks have been asked to examine student IDs in order to ensure that students aren’t giving their dining hall access to visitors; however, the College still allots each student five guest swipes per semester.
In addition to the benefits for students, Llewellyn also anticipates a reduction in food waste. “[Since] so many students would worry about loading up on food and not wasting their meal swipes, our old three-swipe system led to food hoarding,” he said. “I used to see kids leave the dining hall with five apples at a time, and I know some of those apples would go bad before he or she got the chance to eat them.”
Llewellyn said the he hopes Dining Services will continue “to be as flexible as possible for Colby students. I just can’t wait for us to come up with the next great thing.”

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