Saturday, March 23

Food fighters make their advances


Tuesday, October 29, 1996

HOUSING:

Survey could bring possible meal coupon reinstatement

By Ryan Ozimek

Daily Bruin Contributor

Launching a campaign to bring back the now defunct meal coupon
system for on-campus housing residents, the Undergraduate Students
Association Council (USAC) is now working with Housing
Administration to revive the program.

Early last Friday morning, USAC Internal Vice-President Glen
Inanaga met with Housing Director Mike Foraker, Associated Students
of UCLA (ASUCLA) Executive Director Patricia Eastman, and others to
discuss the updated situation with the meal coupon program.

"We wanted (Foraker) to say that he’d bring back the meal coupon
plan if students said they wanted it," Inanaga said.

The group agreed to have an impartial survey created by a third
party to find out exactly what the students living in on-campus
housing wanted. So far, the group has agreed to a rolling deadline
of the first day of Winter quarter to complete the survey,
interpret the results, and possibly bring back the coupon
program.

If a better long term plan is not reached by Winter quarter,
Inanaga said that housing officials were hinting towards
re-initiating the meal coupons by that time.

"Ideally, we’d like to keep the sack lunch program and bring
back the meal coupons at the same time," Inanaga said.

By doing this, it would allow Housing officials to, "figure out
which program works better."

In the first of many steps to bring back the program, Inanaga
created flyers to inform incoming freshmen in the dorms about last
year’s meal coupons. Two weeks ago, volunteers went door to door in
the residence halls, distributing the flyers.

Last week, the Internal Vice-President’s Office sponsored a
petition signing program.

"We started the petitioning in hopes of educating new and
returning students and to spark some interest in the program,"
Inanaga said.

And the response so far has been overwhelming, Inanaga said.
Over 3,000 students, the majority of whom are living in the
residence halls this year, have signed the petitions in the 10
hours the petitioners were out. That translates to about 50 percent
of the residents in on-campus housing for this year alone.

Also siding with USAC on the coupon issue is the On-Campus
Housing Council (OCHC). The group, which is the direct resident
student’s voice to upper housing officials, sent a letter to
Foraker.

In their letter, the OCHC denounced the removal of the meal
coupon program and said that they believed most residents, even
those dissatisfied with the coupon program, "wanted the program
improved, but not eliminated."

During the summer, a solution for students was to allow them to
buy down on their meal plans. For instance, students who first
ordered a 19-meal program would be able to drop to a 14 or 11-meal
program knowing that they could not receive coupons for their lost
meals.

But even buying down meals could potentially hurt students. The
difference in price between a 19 and 14-meal program is only $100
for the complete school year. That difference would be, for
instance, the loss of a lunch for five days a week. Throughout the
year, a student would have only the extra $100 dollars to buy lunch
elsewhere.

"Now that they no longer have the option to use meal coupons,
residents are losing money, potentially more then (sic) they could
save by buying down their meal plan," stated the OCHC letter.

GENEVIEVE LIANG

Students petition to bring back meal coupons.

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