GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The Stockton University Campus Center food court was busy at lunchtime last week as students picked from Chick-fil-A, Primo Pizza, deli sandwiches and even sushi.
But Josh Gant, 22, of Toms River, was eating in the N-wing cafeteria, which has a salad bar as well as grilled fish, Brussels sprouts and orzo.
“They have a lot of choice and healthy stuff,” he said.
Pleasing the culinary tastes of some 8,000 students, and keeping it affordable, is the job of Stephanie Moye, the local manager for Chartwells. The college board of trustees approves meal plan rates each year.
Stockton offers seven meal plans ranging from about $1,000 to $2,200 per semester. The most expensive plan offers 19 meals per week, along with guest passes and flex dollars that can be used at any of the 14 dining sites on campus. The least expensive plan is five meals a week. The most popular plan, Moye said, provides a block of 25 meals plus $1,000 in flex dollars.
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“Students want choice, and they want value,” Moye said. “But we know there are also students who can’t afford a meal plan.”
Moye has worked with Stockton staff to hire some students, providing both a paycheck and a meal. The food court also has two microwaves so students can reheat food brought from home, a popular option for Jade Smolokoff, 22, of Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, who commutes.
College staff have also offered cooking classes to show students how to eat healthy and affordably.
“We had some kids who have never cut up a fruit,” said nutritionist Kim Raring. “And students want to know how to eat healthier.”
Moye said more students are asking for vegetarian, gluten-free and healthy options. She is working on possibly adding a smoothie bar in the fall.
Students love the options but said sometimes the unhealthy ones are hard to resist.
“But I’d definitely go for smoothies,” said Allie Desmond, 20, of Maryland.