SDSU dining will be fully operational for the 2021-22 academic year, original meal plans reinstated

by Katelynn Robinson, Assistant News Editor

Dining options on campus over the past year have been limited due to the circumstance brought on by COVID-19. San Diego State plans to reopen nearly all the campus’s original dining locations for the next academic year. 

Director of SDSU Dining Paul Melchior said there will be 46 locations that will be accepting meal plans on SDSU’s campus next year. 

These include but are not limited to the BcB Coffee carts, the Garden, UTK, Plant Power and all Starbucks locations. 

Meal plans will also be reverting back to their original structure. The options for freshmen include Flex 5, Flex 7, and Meals Plus. For sophomores, they may choose from any of the freshman options or the 2nd Year Plan. 

“Our meal plans were custom designed for the 20-21 academic year due to reduced available dining locations on campus due to reduced campus population,” Melchior said. “Our commuter meal plan is the same as the Upper Division plan this year except commuters will pay for the entire semester upfront as with previous years for commuter students.  Resident plans pay eight equal installments over the academic year.”

Melchior said among some of the changes to the dining locations include Juice It Up and the Aztec Market in West Common will permanently close. Juice It Up had been on a downward trend since Everbowl opened, according to Melchior. The university plans to use the West Commons space but has not officially announced what will take its place. 

Additionally, the Garden will not be returning to “all you care to eat” buffet-style dining.

“We hired a master’s class to do an analysis for us as a capstone project,” Melchior said. “And they worked on it for five weeks and basically their analysis was students don’t want ‘all you care to eat,’ that we would be better served if we turned it into an à la carte restaurant.”

Melchior also said the university will be returning to the Campus-Grown program.

“We took a pause for a year in our Campus-Grown program, where we are actually growing our produce in our aeroponic towers,” Melchior said. “We’ve got them all cleaned and ready to go, they are ready to plant. We are going to be doing our Campus Grown full-on next year as well.”

Political Science first year, Chris Baker said he used the $125 per week meal plan this year. 

Next year Baker plans to continue living on campus and using a meal plan again. He plans to work as an RA and will use whichever meal plan is assigned to him.

“I’ve heard a lot about the other structure, like the declining balance per day and from what I know about it I definitely would prefer what we have currently, the week by week declining,” Baker said. “Because I know for a fact that I wouldn’t spend however many dollars per day. And I would end up having to go through my swipes pretty fast.”

So far, Baker said he has had a positive experience dining on campus and using his meal plan.

“I had University Towers Kitchen probably about once a day and I loved it there, it’s amazing,” Baker said. “I think all the locations that are open to meal plans…are good and accessible. All the places that do have meal plans are easy to use and are very user-friendly. I just wish that there were a little bit more locations that had the meal plan but I understand why there weren’t.”

While no new locations will be opening next year, Melchior said the new aspects of dining will simply be getting back to normal. 

“We didn’t really put a lot of effort into ‘new.’ We’ve pretty much been in survival mode for the past year and so what’s new is going to be everything open again. Which I think everyone will be excited about.”