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Though Chartwells locations are open on weekends, some residence students say the hours and selection aren’t enough

Sophie Long
News Writer

Parents who think their children are being taken care of completely when they move into dormitory residence at the University of Regina may want to start sending care packages with food.

These students have no option but to pay for a meal card, which is supposed to ensure they are able to eat at all times and do not need to buy groceries as it is not guaranteed that students will have access to a kitchen.

While the set-up is fine during the week, many students find it difficult to eat on the weekend, with few Chartwells locations open on Saturday and Sunday. Some students are frustrated with the cost of the meal plans and the limited weekend options.

“I think the prices of food around campus are insane, and using a meal card to only have access to unhealthy and overpriced food is kind of a shitty deal,” said Tom Gaudet, a second-year education student living in residence. “But I don’t really have a choice.”

There have been some changes to meal plans since Chartwells took over the food services at the U of R. While the company initially offered $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000 plans, students now have six choices ranging from $100 to $3,150.

As the academic year has proceeded, Chartwells has also made changes to other aspects of its operation. Since Jan.. 9, weekend hours have been changed for food services on campus. While the Riddell Centre food court and Lab Café are closed on Sunday, Fast Break in the Kinesiology Building and the C-Store in the north residence building both open at 11 a.m. On Saturday, both of these locations are open, as well as the Tim Horton’s in the Riddell Centre, which is open from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

“I’ve been [to Fast Break] a couple times,” Gaudet said. “It was during the week and it just had the basic stuff you see around campus: overpriced sushi and sandwiches that are not worth … whatever the ridiculous price is.”

Residence students with special dietary needs experience more difficulty on the weekends than most students. Jessica Bastiaanse, a vegetarian and second-year art history student, has continually struggled to find affordable vegetarian-friendly options, even during the week.

“I usually end up at The Owl [for meals],” Bastiaanse said. “Because even when there is somewhere on campus that I can find vegetarian options, it’s usually more expensive than non-vegetarian food.

“Why should it be cheaper for students who eat meat?”        

For its part, Chartwells contends that its hours and options are sufficient.

“We have the C-store and Fast Break open over the weekends,” said U of R food service director Ashwin D’Cunha. “Fast Break has a full-service menu and C-Store has enough variety of choices.

“In our last Resident Students Food Committee meeting we were applauded for giving much more variety and options, including and not limited to burgers, soups, sandwiches, pizza and even ready-to-go meals”.

However, some students say more still needs to be done.

“If I could change anything about the meal situation on campus, it would be opening a healthier alternative shop that is open at least for a couple hours on the weekend as well,” Gaudet said.

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