Eating at O’Donovan Hall is a rite of passage for most Georgetown students.
While it is understandable that freshman meal plans are compulsory, sophomores shouldn’t share the requirement.
Leo’s isn’t all bad: As freshmen get to know their surroundings during the whirlwind of their first semester, it’s handy to have a familiar space to find hot meals. Additionally, the forced bonding that comes from finding someone to eat with during the first days of school can lead to enduring friendships.
But after a year of trekking to the one dining hall on campus, Leo’s loses its novelty; many sophomores grow tired of the food offered in the cafeteria. By their second year on campus, students have figured out alternative dining options, and those lucky enough to have scored coveted apartments can have block plans. Even those in dorms might eat out or order in too often to make meal plans worth it.
University policy states that all sophomores are required to purchase a meal plan. Though this requirement is not always enforced, and all students, regardless of class, are eligible for exemptions for medical or religious reasons. The university should refrain from making meal plans mandatory for sophomores. Second-year students are more than capable of both deciding whether they should purchase meal plans and providing for themselves if they do not.
The Leo’s dining experience offers many benefits for freshmen, and the meal plan requirement makes sense for the newest members of the Georgetown community. But after the first year of a student’s undergraduate career, meal plans should not be compulsory; sophomores should have the autonomy to chew on their own food choices.