Abrupt switch to optional meal plan and followed price rise inconvenience Hanwoori residents
Abrupt switch to optional meal plan and followed price rise inconvenience Hanwoori residents
  • Moon Bo-ra & In So-young
  • 승인 2012.10.12 12:51
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Students raise voices over sudden change of Hanwoori meal system
The Ewha Dormitory changed the mandatory meal plan for Hanwoori Hall Cafeteria to an optional system starting from October upon the Fair Trade Commission’s (FTC) request.
However, taking place abruptly with a short notice, this change caused many residents’ confusion and raised complaints.
After conducting a survey regarding the change from the mandatory to the optional meal plan from July 19 to 23, the Ewha Dormitory announced the implementation of the new system starting next year, maintaining the mandatory system for this semester.
However, the FTC requested the dormitory on Aug. 9 to change its meal plan to an optional system and give residents the right to choose either to purchase meal tickets in advance or not by October.
Thus, the Ewha Dormitory conducted another survey on Sept. 10 under the condition to implement optional meal plan if more than 5 percent agrees. As a result, 9 percent agreed with the change, and the dormitory announced on Sept. 19 that the optional meal plan would start in October. Since then, the dormitory gave the residents to select their meal plans among four options: 50-a-month, 40-a-month, 30-a-month and a free-purchase plan.
The options were also followed by an increase in price: A Korean meal ticket which was originally 2,300 won now costs 2,800 won on 50-a-month plan and a free-purchase ticket costs 4,000 won, from 2,300, increasing by 74 percent.
Although such change reflected residents’ preferences toward an optional meal system, the abrupt implementation confused many residents. The residents complained that Ewha Dormitory notified the change too abruptly, as opposed to its original announcement that had been made in July, and gave the residents two days to decide. Also, many residents felt frustrated about their opinions not being taken into consideration in such a decision.
“All of a sudden, the dormitory pulled the meal system change forward with an unexpected price jump without any prior explanation, which I can do nothing but to accept,” said Jung Yeo-jin (Business , 1), a dormitory resident.Moreover, as the transition took place in the middle of the semester, many residents experienced inconvenience of having to visit the Hanwoori Hall Office either to receive refunds or pay more fees.
However, since the Ewha Dormitory plans to wire refunds, many residents have not received their refund payments for more than two weeks.
Being aware of such inconvenience which the residents have experienced, the Ewha Dormitory explains that the hasty switch from the mandatory to optional meal system was inevitable due to the FTC’s request to make the change by October.
According to the Ewha Dormitory, it tried to inform residents about the new system as efficiently as possible, and to give enough time to choose their options.
“We expected residents’ complaints about the hasty change but we only had amount of time. So we tried to provide enough  explanation beforehand by posting it on the Web site, both in Korean and English, and making the announcement,” said Lee Duck-kyu, the associate director of the Ewha Dormitory. “In addition, even though the meal plan survey was officially conducted for only two days, we gave two to three extra days for those who did not participate on time.”
Other than the inconvenience resulting from the transition, many pointed out the invalidity of the unexpected price increase as well, calling for improvements in food quality.
“The betterment in meal quality is what we need the most,” said Kang Min-ji (Media Studies, 1), a dormitory resident. “But the Dormitory did not guarantee any improvements in quality and the food seems to be the same even with the price increase.”
Ewha Dormitory explains the price rise was made because predicting the demand for meals becomes more difficult with the free-purchase option under the optional meal system. As residents request an improvement in the quality of meals, it plans to make an effort.
“Soon, we will organize a Meal Improvement Committee with residents to find specific ways to increase residents’ satisfaction with the cafeteria food,” Lee said.
“Also, since we implemented the optional meal plan taking effect in October, Ourhome, which is the food provider of Hanwoori Cafeteria, has shown positive changes such as diversifying side dishes and increasing the quantity of food.”

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