The Office of Business and Auxiliary Services at Florida A&M University is offering an expanded meal plan option for Rattlers which could affect where students eat most of their meals.
Michael Smith, the director of business and auxiliary services, said they enhanced the meal plan by adding flex bucks, which allows students to purchase more meals daily in the food court.
“With flex bucks students can swipe their card as much as they like as opposed to the old options of equivalency where as you could only swipe once for lunch or dinner,” Smith said.
In previous semesters students with equivalency had the option to eat at the Orange Room or at the food court if they had lunch or dinner equivalency.
This year all meal plans cost the same and differ in the amount of meals per week and flex bucks. A 19 meal per week plan has $25 in flex bucks, the 15 meals per week plan has $125 in flex bucks, the 12 meals per plan has $225 in flex bucks and the nine meals per week plan has $325 in flex bucks. Flex bucks has eliminated equivalency plans.
Another feature of flex bucks is the option to add more flex bucks to the Rattler card. “If you [students] run out you can easily re-up on your flex bucks,” Smith said.
To add flex bucks students just have to go the Rattler Card office to add money to their card.
Smith said flex bucks have been a big hit among students. “The students are really using it, according to my dining services general manager,” he said.
Camille Washington, 20, said she is enjoying flex bucks.
“Flex bucks give me versatility on what I can eat instead of restricting me,” said Washington, a pharmacy candidate from Orlando.
Washington and other students said they think flex bucks is a good addition to meal plans.
“I think it is a good concept because equivalency was kind of messed up. I had lunch equivalency and a lot of the time I missed lunch because of my class schedule,” said Bionca Huey, 19, a political science student from Jacksonville.
Anita Grant, 18, a freshman from Detroit, is another flex bucks supporter but just wishes she had more options in terms of venues to eat.
“I just changed my plan from 15 meals per week to a commuter plan,” Grant said. “I like the flex bucks a lot but I just wish we had another place to eat.”
Not all students are excited about the new addition to the meal plans. Nancy Metayer, 20, an environmental science student from Ft. Lauderdale said she just gave her meal plan away because she did not think it was worth the money she was spending.
“I had the commuter plan with 100 meals, but since we only really have two places to eat on campus…I feel like it’s easier to bring a bag lunch or a snack instead of waiting in long lines,” Metayer said. “It’s not worth it.”
Smith said they are currently working on the expansion of dining services.
“When we expand our program as opposed to more dining services available across campus, I am sure the program will be more popular,” Smith said.
For students who have any questions regarding flex bucks or their meal plans, please contact the student services center at (850) 599-3090.