Resident Assistants (RAs) no longer have to struggle to ration meal pieces or settle for leftover food this semester, as Housing and Residential Education has recreated its Any 15 meal plan – the same as the RAs had before the pandemic.
In an internal email to RA on Monday morning, Assistant Dean and Director of Residential Education Julie Leos said the change would officially come into effect on Tuesday. The upgrade will be applied for the remainder of the fall as well as for the entire spring semester.
The Any 15 plan gives RAs 15 meals per week and they will receive $ 150 for meals to use for the remainder of the semester. However, all “big” dollar expenses for meals Monday through Tuesday would be billed separately to each RA’s personal account.
To add more dollars for meals, RAs should contact USF Dining Services directly and pay the bill. While the RAs had already improved their meal plans prior to the announcement, the Leos advised them to contact the service separately for any arrangements.
The dollar amount for meals to be donated for the spring semester has not yet been announced.
For the fall semester, RAs were initially asked to choose between Bull Block 125, which would include 125 meal lozenges and no food dollars, or Bull Block 60 with 60 lozenges and $ 350 food, according to an internal RA email. August 18. Leos asked RAs to submit their preferences in a investigation before August 19 and, if no response was submitted, they would automatically be awarded the Bull Block 60.
Leos, nor Assistant Vice President of Housing and Residential Education Ana Hernandez, were not available for comment at the time of posting.
Meal plans for RAs suffered a drastic setback in fall 2020 when housing and residential education downgraded it from Any 15 to Bull Block 60. This was due to a “drop in occupancy for the year, “Leos said in an August 21, 2020 email.
The email quickly sparked an uproar among RAs, according to an anonymous source directly affected by the change. Days later, in response to the backlash, Leos reversed their original decision to provide RAs with a partial plan and reinstated Any 15 for the semester. The change, however, did not guarantee ARs the same meal plan – or just one – for spring 2021.
“I want to be clear with you today that [reenacting Any 15] does not mean that there has been a change in our financial concerns, “Leos said in an August 25, 2020 email.” It also does not mean that this meal plan or any other meal plan is guaranteed. for spring 2021.
“As we make the difficult decision about the future, we’ll do our best to let you know of any changes so you can make decisions for what’s best for you. “
RAs were given the option of choosing the meal plan on offer or paying an additional fee to upgrade to a plan that would better meet their needs. If they don’t settle for the few shots for the semester, RAs should spend between $ 600 and $ 2,120 on other meal plan options.
The Leos justified the decision to downgrade meal plans because of the financial implications the department was facing in the wake of the pandemic.
Campus life suffered a 41% drop from 2019 to 2020, with 57% occupancy in the Fall 2020 semester versus 98% occupancy in the Fall 2019 semester, as previously reported by The Oracle.
The total housing occupancy rate on the St. Pete campus was approximately 33% as of fall 2020.
With a decrease in occupancy, housing and residential education suffered a loss of $ 4 million in funds for housing operations for the Tampa campus, Vice President and CFO Nick Trivunovich told Fall 2020. The loss to the St. Pete campus ranged from $ 1.5 million to $ 2 million.
After the state begins lifting mitigation measures around COVID-19 and the university announced on March 3 his plan for a full return to in-person classes, campus housing was once again in the spotlight.
Strong demand for on-campus housing for the fall 2021 semester has addressed all of the department’s financial concerns by reaching full capacity in all of its residences on the Tampa and St. Pete campuses.
While the RAs are clear until the spring semester of 2022, details have yet to be announced by the department on the future of RA meal plans.