Rutgers ditches trays entirely in dining halls

By Garrett Stepien

One year after three dining halls at Rutgers University ditched food trays permanently, Brower Commons has followed suit to start the 2015-16 academic year.

The College Avenue Campus dining hall became the fourth and final eating establishment of its kind at the university to abandon trays when students returned to Rutgers at the end of August and early September.

Dining halls on the Busch, Cook/Douglass and Livingston Campus all dropped trays from their services at the beginning of the 2014-15 academic

Jimmy Boland, a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in exercise science, broke down the cons of the move before adding that the change was ultimately understandable.

“It’s definitely inconvenient,” said Boland. “But from a business standpoint, it definitely makes sense. They’re cutting their cleaning costs, in terms of water usage and they’re also limiting food intake from students. Students are less likely to make multiple trips to get their food.”

According to Rutgers Dining Services Management, the saved money keeps food affordable through a minimal increase in meal plan pricing.

The most popular meal plans range from 110 block swipes to 285 block swipes, according to the Rutgers Dining Services Management. This translates to a price range of $1,925 per semester to $2,600 per semester. A listing of meal plans can be found at

While the 285 plan equates to roughly $9 per meal, the 110 plan breaks down to precisely $17.50 per swipe.

“Seventeen dollars a meal isn’t that affordable,” said Tom Sabrey, a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in economics. “The cut makes sense. I see the direction they’re going in. Yet, I don’t really see the increased affordability as a result.”

Brower Commons is centrally located at Rutgers-New Brunswick on the College Avenue Campus. Because of its easy accessibility and tray-less feature, some students began to favor its services over other campuses.

Justin Duong, a Rutgers Business School junior majoring in finance, cited the convenience of using the trays as a reason why he would elect to eat at Brower Commons. Duong said he would rather eat with his friends on his residential campus at College Avenue instead of dining at the Livingston Dining Commons.

“I’m in the business school, so I have all of my classes on Livingston,” he said. “Despite Livi having the reputation of being the best dining hall, I would take a bus back to College Ave for Brower for the sole purpose of the convenience of trays.”