UNT Dining introduces new Flex plans

UNT Dining introduces new Flex plans

UNT Dining introduces new Flex plans
August 26
18:58 2014

Kaitlyn Stockton / Intern Writer

Commuter and non-traditional UNT students now have more dining options on campus with new payment plans offered through Dining Services.

Resident Dining Services Director Peter Balabuch said these students have the ability to use Flex cash without purchasing a residential meal plan. Flex dollars mimic a gift card; each purchase is subtracted from a set balance.

“We want to share the value of having a meal plan on campus,” he said.

While freshmen are required to purchase a meal plan and have the option to select Flex cash, students living off campus have not had the same privilege.

In the past, commuting and nontraditional students have purchased the same five-day and seven-day plans as freshmen.

“Any commuter could buy a five- or seven-day meal plan if they chose to, but we would sell the meal plans in blocks of 80, 120 or 160 blocks,” he said. “You could go into any cafeteria and get 80 swipes of whatever you liked. These meal plans did not have any Flex or funny money associated to it.”

To give students more options, Balabuch said he and his team added the Advantage 660, Advantage 805 and Advantage 960, all Flex meal plans.

“We added these Advantage meal plans because there were some students that were interested in Flex only,” he said. “If you wanted to eat in the food court or dining hall, you would have the ability to. The difference is if you are eating in a dining hall, the Flex would pay the door price minus the tax that is paid upon purchase.”

Balabuch said the change provides convenience for students.

“Everyone’s situation is unique. Everyone’s looking for different things,” he said. “We are looking to create some degree of convenience, ease the use the meal plans and provide different options.”

Sociology junior Hassan Ali has commuted to campus since he started at UNT. He sees the new meal plan as a way for dining services to reach more students.

“It is pretty cool,” Ali said. “They have good options here.”

In the past five years, Balabuch said dining services has transformed into a department that creates baked goods from scratch and ice cream in-house. The director hopes to offer more options in the future.

Integrative studies senior Taylor Edwards said she enjoyed the many selections Bruce Hall offered when she had a meal plan as a freshmen.

“They just have everything,” she said. “If you are not in the mood for what they cook, you can have a sandwich.”

Ultimately, Balabuch and his team hopes to add more value to meal plans.

“Just because you are an off-campus student, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the cafeteria,” he said. “We are offering great products at reasonable prices that everyone can take advantage of.”

Featured Photo: Information technology junior Jaques Dinlonga walks away from the serving line in the Bruce Hall cafeteria with a full plate. File photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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