Students have voiced concerns about the reduced size of to-go cups available and the policy behind bottles at the Apache Junction Cafeteria.
Jaedon Mckenzie, TJC sophomore, is one student who has voiced his concern at a recent Student Senate Committee meeting where this topic was discussed.
“I feel like since students are actually paying for these services, I feel like we should be compensated for what we’re paying,” Mckenzie said. “I saw in the cafe today at they got these little, small tiny cups and it feels like they’re just saying to us, ‘Here just take that.’”
Three meal plans exist for students which include, Residential Platinum Plan, Residential Gold Plan, and Residential Silver Plan. The Residential Platinum Plan includes 19 meals per week and $50 worth of Apache Bux. The Residential Gold plan includes 15 meals per week and $125 Apache Bux. And the Residential Silver Plan includes 10 meals per week and $200 Apache Bux. Apache Bux are flexible spending dollars that students can use at any location on campus Seven days a week, according to the TJC Dining website.
Jen-Asia Pleasant, TJC sophomore, discusses her concerns about the inability to bring her own bottle into the cafeteria.
“I think the to-go situation is a little bizarre coming from me, I’m a germaphobe. And so like sometimes the cups aren’t the cleanest and the fact that I can’t bring my own cup in that is literally standard size for most drinks. It’s a 16 ounce I believe,” Pleasant said. “The fact that I can’t bring it in and get my own drink out of my own cup is a little wild since I’m paying that amount of money.”
Jim Wood, Aramark general manager, explains the policies regarding the rules surrounding bottles and to-go cup size. Wood provided these answers via email.
What led to the decision to reducing the size of the to-go cups?
“Providing a container of food to go, along with a drink, is a courtesy offered by Aramark. We understand some students prefer a Styrofoam cup and do not like to drink from a plastic cup, so we did give students a choice at the drink machines. We permit students to take a Styrofoam cup with them when they leave, if they choose. Either cup option has unlimited refills while dining in. As the price of supplies continues to increase, we have had to adjust both the size and types of containers provided to maintain the same quality services offered, while controlling student costs.”
What is the policy behind confiscating water bottles?
“This is a practice governed by Health Department regulations and it is not new. We have never allowed students to bring bottles inside the dining hall. Some students attempt to bring in large jugs and bottles to fill with drinks. This is a clear Health Department violation. The cups that we provide are single use, including the Styrofoam cup. If a person dines in, they can now get as many refills as they wish, but we require they get a new cup each refill. Therefore, we require that students leave their bottles at the front, while they are in the dining hall. Students may retrieve their bottles when they leave. We do not keep them.”
There have been complaints about the cup size being changed at the Student Senate Committee meeting, it was brought up that students have a meal plan but don’t get a full size to-go cup if they are not dining in. Can you please address this concern?
“Student residents purchase a meal plan which provides a specified number of meals per week at the all-you-care-to-eat dining hall, Apache Junction. Aramark offers dining-out as a student choice. This was implemented a few years ago, as a response to Covid. As a courtesy, Aramark has continued with the service for those students who want to take their meal with them. Aramark does not have an obligation to provide a dining-out option. It is provided as a courtesy. Unfortunately, there has been abuse of this practice by some students. We are balancing the provision of quality food and service while mitigating product losses, addressing rising supply prices, and minimizing student costs. Aramark continues to evaluate student needs and all possible meal plan options as we plan for the future.”