Commuters and on-campus residents may see changes to their meal plans in the upcoming year.
U of L and Sodexo are considering renegotiating their contract, which was first executed seven years ago and was not scheduled to expire until June 2018.
Representatives from the university attended the first SGA Senate meeting of the semester to explain why U of L and Sodexo are in renegotiation talks.
“I don’t work for Sodexo. I work for the university. I work for you,” said David Martin, who manages U of L’s contract with Sodexo, as he began his presentation.
The problem with the current contract, says Martin, is that the $175 commuter meal plan is costing Sodexo $4.5 million over the 10 year contract period.
“Due to an oversight on Sodexo’s part in 2008 when the existing contract was being negotiated and executed, there was an unintentional omission of annual CPI-U increases to meal plans.”
In other words, Sodexo underestimated how much it would cost over time to deliver food to students, especially when the commuter meal plan was reduced from $250 to $175.
Martin presented two solutions to the problem.
The first option proposed to the SGA Senate is to increase meal plans across the board.
“It would be unfair of us to put the burden of this all on the resident students,” said Martin.
The exact amounts of the proposed increases are still under review, but commuters and on-campus residents could see an increase of $25-$45 on their meal plan.
Martin says that there is an advantage for allowing Sodexo to renegotiate their contract three years ahead of schedule.
If SGA chooses this option, students will be able to negotiate with Sodexo about improvements they want to see in on-campus dining, like longer hours, more locally grown foods and faster lines in places like the SAC.
The second option, says Martin, is to keep the current contract, which will keep meal plans at their current price until Sodexo’s contract is up for renegotiation in 2018.
Martin noted that students may lose their opportunity to negotiate for improvements in on-campus dining if the contract remains untouched until June 2018.
Of two options, SGA Services Vice President Morgan Cooksey said to the Senate, “This is going to be a good thing, I think, for students.”
The SGA Senate is in the process of composing their response to these options in the form of a Meal Plan Resolution.
The Meal Plan Resolution will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the SGA Executive Board for review before the next meeting on Feb. 10.