Identifying a Problem Essay Example #3
|While the writers of this essay identify a very important and complex problem, the solution is murky, in part because the problem itself has so many facets. Also, transitions between sentences and ideas are rough in patches.||
Campus Dining Options Fail to Satisfy Students
by Megan Hawkins, Ashlee Green, Ross Fox, Brandon Borque and Katie Langley
Hungry? Why wait? Well, if you are on a meal plan then you just might have to. Here at Louisiana State University, if you live in the dorms you are required to have a meal plan. Students are experiencing difficulties satisfying their dining needs with a ranging variety of problems. Students have voiced their concerns for these problems. We have taken a survey to analyze this phenomenon. Through these surveys we have been able to obtain and conduct a probable solution. A potential petition, as well as a strong student voice, to the LSU administration could help rectify the problems associated with the meal plan and dining hall system.
Louisiana State University offers an array of different meal plans. Most of those offered are for students who live on campus, whether it is in the dorms, or on-campus apartments. There are definitely some problems in this system. LSU students, particularly freshman living on campus, are required to have a meal plan. Most students have experienced problems. In a survey taken of one hundred on-campus freshman, 41% found major flaws in the LSU dining system. The average cost of a LSU meal plan is $817.09, ranging from $500 to $1,300 per semester. Most of these plans contain a certain number of meals at the dining hall, as well as Paw Points to be used in the union caps. There are a number of problems that students complain about including: misuse of colon time availability, closed on the weekends, too expensive, run out of food, and not much variety.
The two biggest problems found were time availability and the fact that the dining halls were closed on the weekends. Dining Halls no caps operate from Monday morning to Friday morning. Freshman Andréa Hode says, “I can never eat lunch or breakfast at Highland dining hall because I have class straight through 10:30-1:30. I don’t think it is fair for me to schedule my classes around the dining hall.” Many students surveyed said they had problems with going to a dining hall, and it being closed at a normal operating hours. Highland, one of the three dining halls, closes for dinner at seven o’clock, while many classes run until eight. Also, some people are not ready to go eat dinner at 6:30 every night. Weekends seem to cause big problems for on-campus freshman. All dining halls are closed on weekends, not even serving dinner on Friday nights. Some meal plans transfer over to Tiger lair, caps where you can vouch for a limited meal or use your Paw Points. There are limited choices at Tiger lair caps; usually only 3-5 places are open. If you choose not to eat at Tiger lair caps, you are forced to purchase seven meals from Friday to Sunday night. This can become quite expensive for an unemployed college freshman on a budget. It can be worse for those students who do not have transportation. What are they expected to do? Another issue is the fact that many restaurants near campus, such as Roly Poly, are being torn down. This limits our choices even more considering those who were once able to walk to buy food won’t be able to any longer.
Students paying over a thousand dollars a semester should have more options. For almost $2,000 a year, students should eat at their leisure, not the university’s. There have been complaints that sometimes the dining halls will run out of food, or stop serving food before the specified time. Jordan DeFrank said, “I go to Highland for breakfast, but many times I have gone at nine and they are out of everything. It is so frustrating.” Meals can become quite redundant at the dining hall. They mainly serve the same foods: pizza, tacos, hamburgers, jambalaya, and a salad bar . These problems are a large concern for on-campus students. We are here to learn, the last thing on our mind should be “Where is my next meal coming from?”
The solution to this problem is quite simple and very obvious. The hours and availability, as stated earlier, are not sufficient, so our group has come up with some solutions that could possibly solve or at least better the situation. Extending dining hall hours on weekday nights, opening the dining halls on weekends, allowing take-out/doggie-bags, and having the campus mini-mart open 24 hours a day, are all potential solutions. With these improvements, students have more flexible eating times and the ability to have more food available without having to go elsewhere to spend their much needed money. Take-out would be a great addition to meal plans. Students could get food to go when time is limited, and they would be able to take food back to the dorm for later consumption. These possible solutions could greatly improve LSU’s dining services and make them more convenient for students.
We have come up with many ways to put our solution into action. The first thing to do is survey the students. The survey however needs to be much larger than the one we made. Our survey was only of 100 students. For the University’s survey to be effective they would need to survey almost all the students who live in the dorms or have meal plans. They could ask the students for their input, and they could develop a dining system that would benefit both the school and students. Another way to put our solution into action would be for the students to form a petition and have people sign it. In the petition, the students could state the problems they have with the dining system and their ideas to change it. Like the survey, the students would need signatures from a large number of people. In the petition, the students could suggest that the school hire more people to run the dining halls so that they could stay open longer. The students could also propose that a 24hr mini-mart be opened on campus so food could be purchased all of the time. Another suggestion in the petition would be to allow the dining halls to have take-out boxes (limited to one box per student). This would help the students who don’t have time to go sit down and eat; it would allow them to at least run in and grab food to put in their rooms for later.
It is obvious that LSU meal plans suffer significant flaws that narrow students’ options of when, what, and where to eat. In order to eat on weeknights, students must make it a priority to be in the cafeteria fairly early (before 7:00 p.m.) to eat. Worst of all, on weekends students are abandoned by the meal plans, and left to find other means of food. What these students need is a proposal that will allow the cafeterias to stay open longer on weeknights and open for service on weekends. This proposal will not be easily met; it will take strong numbers of students voicing their concerns for this current problem that plagues them. This problem can be dissolved if LSU students collaborate to better the meal plan system.
DeFrank, Jordan. Personal Interview. 27 November 2005.
Hode, Andrea. Personal Interview. 25 November 2005.
Horwitz, Jamie. "Following the Food: Where Students Eat." Chronicle of Higher Education 25 Mar. 2005. Academic Search Premier. Middleton. 2 Dec. 2005 <http://www.lib.lsu.edu/apps/onoffcampus.php?url=http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=16621477&scope=site>.