Students with meal plans will have new dining options this year, including a meal exchange and mobile ordering program with restaurants in Hoya Court and Cosi, expanded menus and takeaway options at O’Donovan Hall and opportunities to purchase additional tax-free Flex Dollars, according to a campuswide email sent by Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Business Services Joelle Wiese on Friday.
Students will be able to use the mobile ordering service Tapingo to purchase meals at Hoya Court, Bulldog Tavern, Starbucks, Cosi and Einstein’s Bros. Bagels in the Car Barn. The Einstein’s kiosk in Regents Hall will be converted into academic space.
Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said the changes are the result of negotiations GUSA has had with Georgetown Dining since 2013.
“This has been a long time coming. These conversations have been taking place, been a focus, since my freshman year and are finally coming to fruition so it’s great,” Khan said. “We had a lot of people engaged with dining.”
Khan said the options are an extension of a pilot program in fall 2014 in which meal exchange options were offered through restaurants in Hoya Court.
“This is a great win for students who feel like they don’t have time to sit down in Leo’s, but they want that hot meal,” Khan said. “They want all-you-can-eat, but they can’t sit there to eat.”
Khan also said Grab ‘n’ Go menus will be expanded with new sandwiches and salads, in addition to new halal options in Leo’s. Alongside new Grab ‘n’ Go food offerings, students will be given reusable plastic containers at the beginning of the year to choose food from Leo’s to take with them.
“You go in, you take your hot meal, whatever you want, and then you leave. The next time, you can have it washed at a drop- off location. When you drop yours off, you can pick up a new clean one, so it’s sustainable,” Khan said.
Additionally, students will be able to add additional Flex Dollars to make tax-free purchases at locations around campus.
Khan said GUSA looked at dining models from various universities, including New York University, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University to recommend changes. The 2014 pilot program used a version of Northwestern’s partnership with Sodexo, in which students are allowed a set number of “equivalency meals” — meals from outside locations — per week as a part of their quarterly meal plan.
Khan said the changes are a positive sign of what Aramark Corporation, Georgetown’s dining partner, should do in the future. The contract is currently up for renewal at the end of 2017.
“This will be an interesting trial run to see what Aramark’s potential could look like, especially given the new contracting negotiations. Now that we have other options to look at, we really want to see if Aramark can truly step up with things that are long overdue,” Khan said.
Stephanie Richardson (COL ’17) said the meal exchange program will satisfy students who are unhappy with traditional offerings at Leo’s.
“I think that students will really take advantage of the opportunity to use their meal plan in so many different places on campus,” Richardson said. “I truly believe people will be far more satisfied with the meal plans offered to us.”
Mark Tremoglie (MSB ’19) said he appreciates the increased variety in dining options.
“It will be great to have more flexibility in our meal plans, and I think students will take advantage of the many new places on campus where meal exchanges are now accepted.”
Tremoglie said the expansion of the Flex Dollar program will be especially useful.
“I especially like that we are now able to add to our Flex Dollars, because I know that running out of Flex before the semester ends is something that has been almost unavoidable to students in the past,” Tremoglie said.