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The Dartmouth
May 30, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Snack bars to return to accepting meal swipes

The return of meal swipe usage — which will begin on Feb. 7 — comes with the compromise that snack bars will now open an hour later.

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Campus snack bars will return to accepting meal swipes during the late-night dining period on Feb. 7, according to Dartmouth Dining Services director Jon Plodzik. The reinstatement of the policy stems from student feedback about the value of meal plans and collaboration with Dartmouth Student Government, Plodzik wrote in an email statement. 

Snack bars stopped accepting meal swipes on Jan. 3 when the Class of 1953 Commons reopened during late night hours from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., according to previous reporting by The Dartmouth. In light of the reinstatement, snack bars — which include the Brace Commons Snack Bar, the Goldstein Snack Bar and the Cube — will change their opening hour from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Plodzik added. 

“We are happy to be collaborating with the student government on issues that directly impact the student body,” Plodzik wrote. “We look forward to future conversations with the goal of making dining the best program possible.”

DSG president David Millman ’23 said that the reinstatement was a result of DSG’s advocacy and their new Dining Advisory Council, which is composed of DSG representatives and Dartmouth Dining leaders. 

According to Millman, the goals of the new council are to debunk “common folklore” about Dartmouth Dining — including the rumored $100 stealing fee — and deal with student issues on dining, such as rising food prices and the previous unavailability of meal swipes at snack bars. In a campus-wide email, DSG said that stealing from Dartmouth Dining locations will now be reported to the Dartmouth Committee on Standards and Accountability. 

DSG also announced that free cups for water will be available during the late night period at ’53 Commons and water bottles will be available for $1. Millman added that the return of the $10 burger special and the addition of new lunch and dinner combos — both part of DSG’s collaboration with Dartmouth Dining — can help students stay within the value of their meal swipe. 

“[These changes] came directly from our advocacy with [Dartmouth Dining], and we’re really happy to see it realized,” Millman said. “All of this represents the importance of having established channels for communication between the student body and Dartmouth Dining.”

Millman said that DSG’s focus on reinstating meal swipes in late night snack bars “comes down to accessibility.” He added that students who live in the McLaughlin Cluster — which he described as “a pretty far walk” from late night at ’53 Commons — might prefer to use the food options in their dorm complex. 

Will Summitt ’26 said that students had replaced late night dining at snack bars with the late night offering at ’53 Commons, which he described as “less accessible.” The meal swipe adjustment will be easier on students who are running low on DBA, Summitt added.

Millman said that revoking the use of the meal swipes in snack bars in January was “counterintuitive” and “came as a surprise.” Dartmouth Dining may not have anticipated how strongly the change was felt by students, he said.

Returning meal swipe usage to snack bars during late night comes after a flurry of price changes that left many students unhappy and worried that meal swipe equivalencies would not allow students to purchase a satisfying amount of food throughout the term, according to previous reporting by The Dartmouth.

Summitt said he was “stoked” about the change.

“There’s limited selection at ’53 Commons,” Summitt said. “The [foods] that you can get that are viable [cost] more than what a swipe is worth. Doing a quick run to the Cube is way more efficient, and you can stock up snacks for your dorm, as opposed to getting a chicken sandwich [by going to ’53 Commons].”