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SMC struggles with ND dining exchange

| Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I am a Saint Mary’s College student, and I work for The Observer. My tuition, classes and dorms are completely separate from Notre Dame’s campus, yet this club requires me to be in the basement of South Dining Hall for several nights every week (and I happily oblige). However, after photographing late-night lectures or editing photos into the early morning hours for the following day’s edition, going back to Saint Mary’s simply to use my meal plan is out of the question. As such, Saint Mary’s students should be allowed to dine at Notre Dame worry-free.

Starting this year, the Co-Exchange meal plan for SMC students at ND only covered band or ROTC. No food passes are approved for work, clubs or most classes off-campus. Although band and ROTC are certainly justifiable reasons to access Notre Dame’s dining halls, it should not be limited to only these circumstances. Many students feel the need to work while in school or perhaps value the financial security, but they should not miss meals or have a portion of their room and board go to waste. As a Saint Mary’s student, if I do not use my certain amount of paid meal swipes every week, then they simply go to waste. Meanwhile, I have to spend my own money off campus when my school should be more flexible.

As with any situation, the abuse of freedom is always possible. I understand student’s wanting to use Notre Dame’s dining services for socializing or out of mere convenience, but that shouldn’t ruin it for the rest of us. The dining hall hours at Saint Mary’s are very limited, as well as the dining options themselves after a certain time. If the College made more accommodating efforts towards their students and their dining plans, I know I would not be the only one to benefit from this. After all, a Belle’s gotta eat.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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