Letter to the Editor

Some of us will have noticed flyers in the cafs calling for the return of, I believe: 2,000 utensils, 1,000 plates, and 800 eco-trays… or something like that.

Obviously those products should be returned to their “homes” – at the very least, because they clutter up our already-cluttered residence rooms. However, there are a few choice things I’d like to get back from Chartwells first.

On the little signs by every cash register, Chartwells swears you’ll only need to spend $23 a day on food, and only five days a week at that!

Said amount is how they calculate our meal plans: $23 dollars a day multiplied by five days a week, multiplied by the number of weeks in the school year. Wonderful! Except for those students who are already two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through their meal plan at present, and there are a number of us, myself included.

Apparently students are only supposed to eat twice a day and aren’t expected to eat on the weekends at all…or over the exam period (for those of us here to the bitter end). I wish Chartwells would give me the phone number of the nutritionist who came up with the math so I could get a note for my stomach, explaining why I can’t have three healthy meals a day, or any meals at all on the weekends!

I may be a lightweight rower, but I still need to eat! Even as a lightweight (150 lb.), I need food so I can study and train hard! My friends who are heavyweights are in afar worse state – particularly the taller ones. We don’t pig out and buy disgusting amounts of food, but enough to satisfy our hunger when he rumbles. Living in residence this year wasn’t an ideal choice for me – it’s like living in a hotel and eating out all the time. Except any travel advisor would tell you to allocate $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $15 for dinner (drinks included). The only way you can spend under $23 a day eating on this campus is sticking to toast, soup, and pizza! Even yogurt is at least twice the price it should be, the caf is always out of the healthy stuff, and students are charged for even the smallest toppings! Perhaps if the food was reasonably priced, $23 a day (once you added in weekends) would be achievable. But when milk, meat, fruits, and vegetables are $1-2 more than they are at comparable locations… it simply isn’t.

We all know Chartwells is a cold-hearted, money-grubbing business in the vein of Ebenezer Scrooge (not its employees though, who are very nice and understanding). However, when we hear from older students about the all-you-can-eat meals and chocolate milk fountain of the pre-Chartwell era… well, it’s like hearing about the promised land and being unable to go there!

My message to Chartwells: 1) Redo your bloody calculations to acknowledge the fact, which might surprise you, that students actually eat on the weekends; 2) Proceed to reimburse the students who bought food on the weekends when there wasn’t money allotted for that; 3) Stop charging for cheese and avocado; 4) Get more healthy options, including healthy snack options; 5) Take a good hard look at your overall prices and see if you can’t return to the golden days of old. Trent is a great school, but has yet to learn that if there are certain components of a system that are popular – they should be reused, not reduced or chucked in the bin!