Extra cheese? No, thank you.

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Sienna Williams / The Bucknellian

Moira Weinstein, Staff Writer

College is the place many people end up after graduating high school, given the financial support they need is met, or they have the funds to maintain an education. For Bucknell students, tuition is no joke. The prices have fallen victim to inflation of the highest degree, scholarships barely holding any weight compared to the full price tag.

As far as “worth it” goes, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder — each beholder. Some may go about life handing their credit cards to someone in charge, not checking the numbers on the screen. Yet, others, who deserve education just as much as anyone else, find themselves scrambling to achieve the quota and go above and beyond to maintain their support. Without going into a deep-seated rant on the state of university tuition rates in America, let’s talk about food. Something prevalent to us all.

As a Bucknellian, I know the school prides itself on the various food options, from dining halls to All-Star trucks during finals week. And I acknowledge that to the fullest extent, but the quality of those options is where the problems lie. Quality and price. I have heard too many complaints of the expenses that become stressors for my friends.

Last semester I had the meal plan for around $3,000, which included unlimited meal swipes and no dining dollars. When I didn’t have it in me to trek up to Bostwick from downtown, I chose to order in, DoorDash and UberEats constantly irking me with their deals or convenience in general. I could not justify it, or afford it, but when my legs were too exhausted after the hills, I couldn’t help myself.

I realized that the meal plan wasn’t worth it, so I switched to ten swipes a week, with about 150 dining dollars. So, in theory, that is two meals every weekday, and one meal every weekend that I’m here, if I’m lucky. The rest would hypothetically be out of pocket directly, which would justify the outside spending. Yet, as someone who eats breakfast — crazy I know — I’ve found it almost impossible to live on the meal plan I do. I resort to ramen almost every night. Plus, going to Bostwick becomes lonely with all my other friends in the Bison surviving in their own way. 

Just a couple weeks ago I went to the MacDonald Commons by the senior apartments, having never been there before. I was excited to see the Beyond Burger advertised, ordering it immediately, despite the $8 fee, without any extras. After I placed my order and picked it up, I went to the drink area where you pay. I poured myself a cup of water, immediately realizing it was “Lemon Water” for $1.50 per cup.

The drink was already in my hand, so I was forced to pay for the lukewarm, sour drink, not seeing the tiny water dispenser below my line of sight that was perhaps intended for small children. Nevertheless, I purchase my meal but am alerted that I’m being charged for extra cheese. My eyes glance back to the form that states extra charges will be denoted with an asterisk.

“That’s just the button,” I inquired. I thought it isn’t just the button, it’s $1.25 for a phantom slice of extra cheese, but I fear authority and I retreated the argument. They do the same to the others.

I talked to my friend about her opinion on the prices of the meal options here at Bucknell, and her rage matched mine and that of others I have asked. She replies that places like the Bison and the Commons should not be making the profits of a business, when they are attached to an already heavily priced school. I think about that, and how student workers are paid $10 an hour, an upgrade from last year’s $8.25. The pockets of the administration must make it hard to walk.

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