The way we eat at dining halls is changing a little bit, and whether or not you want to debate the cause, we all must be prepared to make the most out of mealtimes. Upperclassmen, if you haven’t heard, it’s becoming substantially harder to get swiped in by
jailbait pledges younger friends deserving of your mentorship. We’ve got the scoop on the direction meal swipes are headed, plus some creative ways to get around the new restrictions.
- Each day, when students swipe into the dining halls, there is a record kept in a system of who swiped in, the time, the date and other information like that.
- When students swipe in 3 times in rapid succession, that is recorded in the system as, for example, “Amy Gutmann” three times in a row with time stamps (essentially, it’s very obvious).
From the notice on the Penn Dining website: “While in some instances students may have simply misunderstood the policies, there are a small number of students who are clearly abusing their meal plans and in some of these cases the abuse has been significant.”
- The Dining department recently became savvy to the fact that students who have the unlimited meal plan had been regularly swiping in multiple guests (aka friends) multiple times a day or multiple times a week.
- “regularly” means swiping in upwards of 3 times at once, more than once or twice a week.
- The blatant abusers were the people swiping in, for example, seven guests four times a a day five days a week (a real statistic), which would add up to a grand total of 140 meals in one week.
- There is the reasoning that two different people can eat is substantially larger than what one person can eat or take out with two meal swipes, potentially costing Penn Dining lots of money.
Actions taken by Bon Appetit and the dining services:
- About 2 weeks ago, a letter was sent out to all students on the unlimited plan calling for a cease and desist of any abuse of the dining contract.
- Administrators are going into the system and scanning records to see if people are still abusing the unlimited contract.
- Names have been highlighted as abusers and those individuals will be reprimanded (the consequences are unknown).
- There are signs around dining halls saying that you now have only five guest swipes (as opposed to the original ten), quoting the Dining Terms and Conditions.
- Students have the option to buy up to five more guest swipes with Dining Dollars, PennCash or Bursar.
- “Moocher Meals/ Guest Visits: All dining plan participants can use up to 5 of their visits per semester to treat family and friends in the residential dining facilities. Students can use them one at a time or all at the same time. When using a Moocher Meal, simply tell the cashier and they will deduct that visit(s) from the Guest Visits balance. When using a Moocher Meal for personal use, simply tell the cashier that you are using a Guest Visit. Additional guests are always welcome, provided they pay the guest rate at the door. Students may also charge additional guest meals above the 5 allowed per semester to their Dining Dollar$, PennCash or SFS accounts. Moocher meals are included in your total meals.”
- When we tested out one freshman swiping two people into Commons in a row, the system outright wouldn’t let us.
Suggestions to work around a hypothetical situation similar to, but definitely not exactly this one, because we’re totally not trying to undermine the dining system:
- Stagger your entrance timing and do a PennCard passback. You and your food patron will have to wait a little to be together, but it might reset the system and let you sneak in.
- Sneak up the elevator in Commons, enter through the Hill exit and don’t eat in Kings Court.
- Memorize a valid swiper’s PennCard number and hope the authorities don’t enforce the Lost Card policy because they never have, ever.
- “Lost Card Policy: Students must have their PennCard to enter the dining halls. Students who have lost or misplaced their PennCard may enter the dining halls by first completing a Lost Card Voucher obtained from the cashier. The visit will be deducted from the student’s dining plan and a processing charge of $2.00 will be billed to the student’s SFS account for each voucher used. The voucher is valid only for visits covered by the student’s dining plan. Additional visits will be billed to the student’s SFS account.”
- Have a swiper get a really epic to-go box for two and eat somewhere with more ambiance than a dining hall.
- Ambush someone leaving and borrow their PennCard real quick.
- While you’re at it, ask the person behind you for a swipe: maybe they have more guest meals!