An Abundance of “Swipes”

By Elizabeth Hansen

Ian Jones working the cash register by swiping students into Harris Dining Hall. Photo by Elizabeth Hansen.

My four friends and I had just finished dinner when my sorority little, Sabine Fahey, asked, “Does anyone want ice cream? I can swipe you into Harris.”

“Are you sure?” we asked. We didn’t want her to waste five meal swipes on five ice cream cones.

“Yeah, I have so many left,” she said.

A few days later, I open up my Facebook page to see a post from first-year, Maggie Sullivan, in my business fraternity communication page, offering all her friends a delicious breakfast.

“Are you hungry? Are you on a budget? Would you like hash browns, eggs, toast, cereal and more in 11 minutes? Come to Garden Commons and let me treat you to a fine breakfast,” said the Facebook post.

But Sabine and Maggie were not just feeling extremely generous. They needed to use up their dining hall swipes.

In the fall of 2016, Miami University implemented a new meal plan. This meal plan took the traditional declining balance and changed it to a hybrid system. It included a set number of swipes to use at dining halls and a smaller amount of declining dollars to use at a la carte locations around campus.

While sophomores could opt out of this option, first-years had no choice. They had to choose the “swipe” meal plan, claiming to save students money.

But there was a catch: The swipes did not transfer year to year.

Now, first-year students, in particular, are finding themselves with a surplus of swipes and a limited amount of days left to use them. Instead of wasting these swipes, which cost about $6.00 each, they are treating off campus friends and sophomores with no swipes, to big buffet feasts.

To prevent these swipes from being distributed across campus, the meal plan technically only allows students five “guest swipes,” but that has not stopped students.

Ian Jones, a cashier at Harris Dining Hall, says he has seen people come tap ten of their friends into the dining hall.

As the year runs out, so do the bank accounts. But for first-years with the “swipe” meal plan, their stomachs are full.





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