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Student Conserving Meal Swipes Realizes She Can Now Swipe 9 Times a Day


DP File Photo

Freshman Karen Porter (C ‘21) was one to listen to the masses. After researching the best Penn dining plan from the incredibly varied selection of three, she decided to take advice from others who have been through the process. Karen listened to all the upperclassmen telling her to get the plan with the least swipes, because “you are going to have swipes left over” and “there’s no way you’ll use up all your swipes.” Still, she was wary and wanted to make sure she wouldn’t go hungry.

After doing some easy math (Karen skipped pre-calc in high school), she came to a shocking realization. With a measly eight swipes a week, she could only afford to eat a little over once a day! It was too late to change her dining plan, so Karen had to do some quick thinking. She decided that she would start conserving her swipes, only using them when she really needed them, or else she would run out way too quickly.

Karen started swiping in cautiously, seeking out other food options in lieu of dining hall all-you-care-to-eats. She lurked around club meetings, scoured the streets for food trucks, crashed BYOs, even attempted to make her own meals, all to avoid using her precious swipes.

After a few months, Karen stumbled upon the meal swipe to dining dollar conversion program. “I wonder how I’m doing with my swipe budgeting.” Upon logging on to Campus Express, she was greeted with a pleasant surprise. Of the 135 swipes she was granted for the semester, she had only used four. And with only 14 school days left, Karen whipped out some quick mental arithmetic (Karen was 3rd grade mental multiplication champion) and discovered that she could afford to swipe 9 times a day.

“Well, I won’t be eating out anytime soon,” Karen explained when asked what she was going to do. “I’ll probably eat smaller meals so I can use more swipes in a day. That way, at the end of the semester, I won’t feel bad for wasting so much of my meal plan. Guess the upperclassmen were right—you really do always have leftover swipes.”