November 15, 2001

C.U. Staff Meal Plan Develops

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Meal Plan is an issue much debated by students, but not often mentioned among the ranks of faculty and staff. Cornell, however, does have meal plan options for faculty and staff, ranging from debit plans to care packages.

“It is important to have a faculty and staff meal plan because they are an important part of campus, and we want them to know we care,” said Marie Hedrick, marketing & promotions manager of Campus Life. “The program is not well known because we have not done a lot to publicize it yet.”

According to Hedrick an advertising campaign is in the works for next semester, and flyers about the program were distributed at Tuesday’s Benefair in the Statler Hotel.

Meal Choice, implemented in the Fall of 2000, is the most popular service. It is a debit account that allows all faculty and staff with valid Cornell identification cards to participate. Their program currently serves approximately 350 users.

“We expected 200 to 250 people to sign up, so we are quite pleased,” said Peggy Beach, associate director of marketing and Campus Life. “I think we are right on track with enrollment.”

According to surveys done by Cornell Dining, the University mirrors the average membership in faculty and staff meal plans found at other schools.

“I [signed up] when [Meal Choice] first came out because I got tired of carrying money around,” said Robert G. Reese, an administrator in the office of the Vice President for University Relations who uses Meal Choice. “I use it for lunch a good amount of time … for me it is the convenience of [the plan], I don’t have to stop at an ATM or worry about the amount of money I have on me.”

The minimum opening deposit for Meal Choice is $25, and additional funds may be added to the account at any time. The balance carries over between semesters for as long as the person is employed by Cornell University, and has used the account within the past year. The program also provides a 5 percent discount on food items purchased at any dining location.

“The benefit is the discount. However, we didn’t want to make the discount greater that [what the students get],” said Hedrick.

The Meal Choice discount may be used in conjunction with other meal plans. Although Meal Choice is restricted to use by faculty and staff, the other programs are not.

“These other programs were designed for people who are very busy,” said Hedrick. “[They are]for anyone, but [are] used mostly by professors.”

Supper Solutions, which was implemented this past September, is one of the newest programs. It is a dinner delivery system where patrons call in, and then later and pick up their orders at one of three central locations: Day Hall, the A-Lot or the Ivy Room.

“[Customers] receive their food from a van. It is hot, but there are [also] reheating instructions,” said Hedrick.

According to Patty Bouchey, administrative assistant at Willard Straight Hall, Supper Solutions has acquired regular customers.

“I receive three to five orders a day,” Bouchey said. “One woman comes in everyday with her little girl who just loves it!”

All dinners served through supper solutions include an entr