Austin Fast

Associated Student Government (ASG) unanimously motioned Tuesday to give Heritage Commons residents the ability to opt into the Diplomat meal plan, since they are on-campus students.

Bethany Bowyer, secretary for academic affairs and co-author of the bill, said students living in Heritage Commons can currently only sign up for Miami’s Attaché or Ambassador plans, which are designed for off-campus students.

According to the Dining Services Web site, the Diplomat meal plan works on a declining balance system and has a $1,370 membership fee. The plan includes 30 to 60 percent discounts at buffet and a la carte dining locations.

Bowyer said Heritage Commons apartments come equipped with a full kitchen, but many residents use campus dining halls or markets since they are closer than uptown food vendors.

Bowyer said dining services generally makes more money from the Diplomat meal plans since students on the plan eat more often on campus.

“Typically, students that choose Diplomat sign up, request a larger amount of money and get a larger discount because they’re spending more and using the dining halls more,” Bowyer said.

According to Matt Forrest, secretary for on-campus affairs and co-author of the bill, dining services seemed open to the change.

“They were surprised that they didn’t add Diplomat for Heritage Commons students,” Forrest said.

Nancy Heidtman, director of dining and culinary services, said Heritage Commons residents’ meal plan options have been the same since the apartments opened in 2006.

“It seemed at the time to be the best option available because of the flexibility of the account,” Heidtman said.

Heidtman said Housing and Dining will discuss the issue at the start of next semester and determine if it will be put in place.

Heritage Commons senator Ian Vita thinks the bill will be extremely beneficial for students who live in the on-campus apartments.

“As someone who’s lived in Heritage Commons and knows how much it costs, you’d be making 400 people very happy by adding Diplomat,” Vita said.

Heritage Commons resident Lauren Fleming thinks Diplomat could be a good option for students who do not use the apartment kitchens often.

However, she said it might not be the best value for students who do not eat on campus enough to compensate for the membership fee.

“It almost would be nice if they had another option in between, because I’m not going to use $1,000 in a semester,” Fleming said. “This discount that you supposedly get, you’re paying a $1,000 just to have it, so in essence, you’re paying for your discount.”

Fleming said the Diplomat meal plan lasts longer because the extra membership fee allows for discounts, but she said the decision should be left up to students.

“For me, I can’t see a problem with them offering it,” Fleming said. “Let the students choose whether they want to pay that extra $1,000.”