The Trinity University Dining Services Request for Proposals (RFP) committee, which comprises students as well as university faculty and staff, has decided what food vendor it will recommend to the Board of Trustees.

But the panelists can’t yet say who they’re recommending, or whether they urge the university leadership to renew a contract with longstanding vendor Aramark.

No sweat, that’s business. And the final decision is ultimately up to the governing board, not the RFP committee. But we urge the administration to listen closely to students’ needs and wants when it decides who to work with.

We advance a modest suggestion. Please ensure that the next dining contract gives students the freedom to use their meal swipes as they please.

At present, Aramark employees are barred from letting students use their own meal swipes to allow someone else to enter Mabee Dining Hall. For some reason, or maybe no reason at all, students have to burn a portion of their precious few Bonus Bucks to pay for another’s meal.

First-years and sophomores cling to those bucks with their lives, since they’re the ticket to campus’ best and most convenient food options. Juniors are constantly bothered by their senior friends, who frequently ask to leech from the former’s Bonus Buck stash.

Let’s be frank. The $9 price tag for dinner does not come across as a good value when bringing friends, family and other visitors to share a meal with you on campus. Clubs that eat breakfast or dinner together daily, especially Greek organizations, also eat through their members’ Bonus Buck reservoir to allow seniors to break bread with their friends.

It’s not just inconvenient and nonsensical. It’s potentially damaging for low-income, food-insecure students who live away from campus but can’t afford the inflated prices listed here.

Food insecurity may not be prevalent among Trinity students, who are required to pay for a meal plan in order to live here, but any step toward reducing the financial burdens of college attendance is a step in the right direction.

We think this is a fair, simple and widely supported idea and hope the RFP committee and Board of Trustees agree.

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