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GSC unveils new meal plan for apartment dwellers

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The Graduate Student Council (GSC) on Wednesday unanimously approved the first round of student nominees to University committees and boards. Based on recommendations by the Nominations Commission, the nominees were approved by the Undergraduate Senate on Tuesday.

The council questioned nominees for committees such as the Student Activities Advisory Board, the Bicycle Safety Committee and the Graduate Housing Advisory Committee, among others, about their plans for the upcoming school year.

The council moved on to discuss a proposed new meal plan that Stanford Dining has designed specifically for graduate students. Advertised as the “apartment meal plan,” the program in the fall quarter offers five meals a week and $50 in Cardinal Dollars for $571.

“What we’re looking for is some way to get the word out, because the need is there,” said Chana Rodriguez, Stanford Dining’s events and voluntary meal plan manager.

Rodriguez attended the meeting to gather graduate students’ reactions to the proposed plan. She said the new plan would offer better pricings than the cash price for meals at University dining halls. For example, under the Apartment Meal Plan, students would pay an average of $6.95 per dinner as opposed to the $10 charged out of pocket.

Members of the council expressed some resistance to the plan, reasoning that the new plan was not clearly distinguishable or necessarily better-priced than the plan that already existed for graduate students, which charges a flat $5.95 for lunch and $6.95 for dinner. Rodriguez assured the GSC that the proposed plan was unique due to its increased efficiency and the addition of Cardinal Dollars. Ultimately, some members wanted an option closer to home.

“I think you should try to work with Ray’s because that’s where grad students eat,” said Krystal St. Julien, a graduate student in biochemistry. Ray’s Grill is in the Graduate Community Center on east campus.

ASSU executives Angelina Cardona ’11 and Kelsei Wharton ’12 joined the meeting with an update on upcoming programming. They invited the graduate students to the “Fall into Health” event slated for Friday in White Plaza. Currently working together to draft a revamped sexual health survey which Vaden Health Center will release later in the quarter, the group discussed the possibility of offering two iPads as prizes to encourage student participation.

“This information will be ultra-helpful and it will be really important in terms of research for these issues,” said Cardona.

Opinions differed on whether offering one iPad or several smaller prizes at the same cost would be more effective at boosting student responses, but the group saved the discussion for another day and ultimately approved $550 for the prizes, roughly the cost of a basic iPad.

Contact Anna Schuessler at annas7@stanford.edu.