By Jake Gold and Jack Evans, The Miami Student

In response to negative feedback about changes to the meal plan, students on the Diplomat meal plan can now convert some of their swipes into declining balances. However, most of these students will lose up to $1.50 per converted swipe.

“Our team is dedicated to serving you,” read a Dining Services email on Oct. 25. “And as a way to say thank you for your patience this fall, we are providing you the opportunity to transfer [between 19 and 29] of your unused buffet meals to declining balance dollars.”

The number of swipes that a student may convert depends on their meal plan. With a “Diplomat Minimum” meal plan, a student can convert 19 swipes, or $123.50 in declining balance. A “Diplomat Standard” plan converts 24 swipes to $156 in declining balance. And the “Diplomat Premium” plan converts 29 swipes to $188.50 in declining balance.

Each student is reimbursed $6.50 per swipe converted. For first-year students on the Diplomat Premium Plan, this is equivalent to the per-buffet-meal swipe cost that they initially paid when they purchased their meal plan. However, on-campus students who don’t fall into this group will be losing between $0.56 and $1.50 per swipe through the conversion process, according to costs on Miami’s Dining Services website.

ASG independently passed a resolution in support of the swipe-to-declining-balance exchange program on Oct. 1.

“The administration is already taking big steps to respond to ASG’s feedback this year, and I’m thrilled that this option is available for students,” said James Oaks, ASG secretary for on-campus affairs. “I hope that this change will be the first step in making meal plans more convenient for students next year.”

The newly established Student Dining Committee helped push these and other recent changes in response to student dissatisfaction with the Diplomat meal plan. Within the past month, the Student Dining Committee helped return to-go pizza and salads to Bell Tower Place.

Miami University Dining Services founded the Student Dining Committee this year in order to help ameliorate student frustration with many of the changes to the meal plan. The committee includes representatives from the Miami Residence Hall Association, Associated Student Government and others.