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We asked students what they thought about the enforcement of the 10 guest swipe rule on unlimited meal plans. Related column: Ernest Owens: Occupying food for thought

Credit: Quan Nguyen , Huizhong Wu

Upperclassmen who rely on freshmen to swipe them into dining halls may need to find somewhere else to eat dinner.

Last week, Business Services sent an email to students who purchased an unlimited meal plan — Eat Any Time — restating its policy regarding “moocher meals,” the number of guest swipes allocated to each student. Business Services also posted flyers around the dining halls listing the plan’s terms and conditions.

The notification was due to “abuse of the [Eat Any Time Plan] by students who are allowing others to use meals that were never intended to be for guests,” Director of Business Services Doug Berger wrote in an email.

VIDEO: Students’ takes on unlimited dining plan

Although dining plans vary in cost, each plan includes ten guest swipes. If a student exceeds ten, he or she must pay for a guest at the register through PennCash or dining dollars. Dinner at 1920 Commons, Hill and Kings Court dining halls costs $14.75 for each person not on a meal plan.

However, the ten-person rule has not been strictly enforced. In a Daily Pennsylvanian column published Oct. 27, College sophomore Ernest Owens — who pays $4,200 a year for the EAT plan — wrote that he had swiped more than 3000 guests into dining halls this semester.

One of them was former Drexel student Asha McDowell, who said she never encountered problems when Owens swiped her in for lunch.

“Money was really tight,” she said. “I did not have a plan in order to save money, it really did help me out … For what you pay for meal plans at Penn … ten swipes is not enough. That is way too much money.”

College senior Jake Werlin, co-founder of More Than Pennies, a project that allows students to donate extra meal swipes to the homeless in Philadelphia, said the enforcement was “bound to happen.”

“It’s a business when it comes down to it… I believe they are rightfully cracking down on people who are sharing an unlimited meal plan.”

The club does not give out a meal for every meal swipe donated. Instead, Bon Appetit varies the amount of food it provides to homeless shelters in Philadelphia based on the number of meal swipes that are donated, according to the group’s Facebook page.

Many students on sports teams volunteer to swipe team members in for dinner, former cheerleader and College sophomore Arielle Klepach said, since none of the older members had dining plans. “We would go to Hill after lifts pretty commonly…every week.”

“I still had over a hundred meals left at the end of the semester … I was happy to get rid of [swipes]” Klepach said. “Penn makes the freshmen have too many meals to begin with, it’s not fair that all those meals and money go to waste when somebody else could use them.”

“There’s always extra food leftover. It would be better to have it eaten by hungry people as opposed to getting thrown out,” Klepach added.

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