Feb 10, 2009

Liberty Dining helps Stretch students' meal points

by Amanda Thomason

With the economy crisis playing an immense role in today’s society, Sodexo is helping to ease financial concerns of students and their families with the recent 5 percent discount, offered to students who use their meal points to purchase food on campus.

Sodexo decided to do what it could to help ease the pressure on students, according to Marketing Manager of Liberty Dining Services Elizabeth VanWingerden.

This new discount started on Monday, Feb. 2 and takes 5 percent off of any meal purchased with meal points. All of the Liberty dining facilities, including Doc’s Diner, Reber- Thomas Dining Hall, Jazzman’s and the Hangar are participating. Any time a student or faculty member pays with meal points, they will receive the discount.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see that my meal points were going farther than I thought they were going to go,” senior Raphaela Torman said.

The discount is shown at the end of the purchase and is printed on the receipt. Students are already receiving a tax exemption separate from this new discount. Meal tax in Lynchburg is at a high of 11.5 percent, so students are receiving the privilege of not paying tax as well as the discount from Sodexo, according to VanWingerden.

Neither meal swipes at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall nor cash purchases are included in this discount. It is only available when the payment is made with Liberty’s meal points. Any student with meal points on his account and any faculty member making a purchase are eligible for the 5 percent discount at various locations on campus.

“I think any little bit of saving money is smart and profitable. Nickels and dimes add up fast,” junior Max Andrews said. “I think we forget that, and I appreciate Sodexo’s help.”

“I honestly did not notice the discount at first, but once I realized it I thought it was really neat because it helps spread our meal points even further. The 5 percent really adds up,” sophomore Brittney Stephenson said.

Sodexo made the decision to implement the discount because of the tough financial situations many people are experiencing. They made this assessment on their own, and it ironically was determined the same week that Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. announced the lowering of tuition rates next semester.

Ricky Murray, shift supervisor at Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, said that the company is always looking for different ways to help students and offer top quality service. Even though 5 percent may not seem like much, it will add up and make a difference over time as students continue to take advantage of the services offered to them.

“We are doing this because times are tough economically, and we know students, and our faculty and staff are not exempt from those hard times,” VanWingerden said. “It may not seem like much but it is just one way we are trying to alleviate financial hardship. However we can help, we are going to try.”

Contact Amanda Thomason at

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