Ultimate meal plan met with unexpected problems

Norse Commons closed for renovations on March 7, and since then students with the Ultimate meal plan have had problems redeeming their meal swipes.

The Norse Ultimate meal plan gives students an unlimited number of meal swipes at the campus cafeterias in Norse Commons and the Callahan Bistro, according to the NKU dining website. Students can also exchange swipe per day for a six dollar meal at the restaurants in the Student Union.

But Brandi Cunningham, senior history major, has had problems with her Ultimate meal plan.

According to Cunningham, the system would let students use their one meal for breakfast at the Student Union and then eat in the dining hall during the later breakfast period. However, students were not able to eat breakfast first at the dining hall and then count their Student Union meal in that same time period.

“I could go over there and eat as many times as I wanted, but I couldn’t have my one time here. It was gone, because I had already used my swipe during the lunch hour,” Cunningham said. “Now if I had eaten here and then gone over there, that was fine…but you couldn’t do it the other way around.”

According to Cunningham, this has been a problem for years. “We [students] brought it up several times and they [administration] said ‘Oh that shouldn’t be a problem, we’ll fix it.’ But it wasn’t,” she said. “I think people [in administration] thought it was fixed and then it wasn’t.”

Cunningham said that as the years went on and she kept having problems with her meal plan, she adjusted her eating schedule to avoid the problems. But as Spring Break and the closing of Norse Commons approached, students again voiced their concerns about the Ultimate plan system.

“A lot of people were concerned about it,” said Cunningham. “With the renovations that was a computer problem they could fix.”

Students addressed the topic at the town forum in January. “When we had our town hall forum I asked the question of Andy Meeks because I know people have been concerned about it since my freshman year,” Cunningham said. “He said with the renovations that was a computer problem that he could easily fix and he would do that.”

So administration made temporary adjustments to the system. But according to Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple, it didn’t work.

“What the plan was supposed to do when we made this temporary meal plan switch, was to allow students, if they had the Ultimate meal plan, to eat at the Bistro and then come over here during the same meal period and have another swipe. And it wasn’t allowing that. It was reversed.”

When she found out the system hadn’t been changed, Cunningham approached Dean Waple about the problem and he had a conference call with Andy Meeks, director of Business Operations and Auxiliary Services. They addressed the problem immediately.

“It really ended up being a computer issue with Cboard,” said Waple. “[It was] just the program itself.”

Cunningham said she was pleased at the quick response to her complaint. “I like that they quickly responded to that,” she said.

Cunningham said she has not tried out the system yet but plans to soon. Reflecting on the situation, she said. “It’s kind of odd. You’d think you’d be able to do it both ways.”