New meal plans required for freshmen, use 50 block

 Incoming freshmen are now required to have a meal plan with block starting this year at South Dakota State University. 

The University Food Service Advisory Committee (UFSAC) and Residence Hall Association (RHA) recommended freshmen have at least 50 block in their meal plans. 

The two organizations wanted to salvage the social interaction on campus because they feared student isolation would increase due to the app-based ordering service, Tapingo. 

Block is not the same as flex–students can only use the block at Larson Commons and it doesn’t transfer over to the next semester. 

There are some changes planned for Larson Commons to adjust to new meal requirements. 

Doug Wermedal, associate vice president for student affairs, said the entrance of Larson Commons is moving to the back right side of the facility beside the elevator, which will help direct traffic. 

In order to adjust to the new requirement, the atmosphere at Larson Commons is becoming more welcoming to students by adding a new salad bar and ice cream station. 

Larson Commons has received feedback from students about poor food quality. In the future, they plan to improve the menu by adding more options to the salad bar, Wermedal said. There has been no word on changing on the food menu itself. 

Brady Larson, a freshman student, thinks the requirement is a good change. 

“I think the 50 block meal plan is a good one to have. I think that it helps balance a student’s meal out,” Larson said. 

Although Larson appreciates the change, others feel differently. Blake Toennies, sophomore history and geography major, doesn’t think students want to eat at Larson Commons. 

Toennies was late signing up for a meal plan and was placed in the default meal plan, similar to freshmen meal plans. 

“When signing up for a meal plan I noticed the change, which I didn’t appreciate it because it placed me in (a meal plan) that I absolutely did not want,” Toennies, said. He thinks there are limited options for freshman with this requirement. 

But, Wermedal still has hope in the facility. 

“Larson is the best kept secret on campus,” Wermedal said. 

A survey will be released in October so students can give feedback on the meal requirement changes and Larson Commons. Freshmen and upperclassmen will be able to participate.