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What UMD Really Means by the New Dining Plan


Terps everywhere are irritated and confused by upcoming changes to the dining plan. We all know the gist–next fall, the much-hated Points system will be swapped out for an even more hated all-you-can-eat plan. UMD, of course, prefers to announce its dumb ideas in bogusly cheerful, vague language. As a public service, The Black Sheep has decided to break down UMD’s official explanation and expose the ugly truth. 


“Enjoy unlimited access dining to our three dining halls . . . we do not track what food you take each time you dine”:

Translation: First of all, “enjoy” and “dining food” are not words that occur in the same sentence, so this should raise some red flags. The new plan is all-you-can-eat, which sounds appealing for about five seconds. Then you remember that you can barely force your stomach to accept Diner food in normal portions, so there’s literally no point in an all-you-can-eat plan. It’s kind of like having an all-access pass to a fast food dumpster.


“In order to create this change and provide unlimited dining for all resident dining plan members, carryout will not be available from the dining halls”:

Translation: No more carrying your fries, chocolate chip pancakes, or mozzarella sticks out and crying over them in the comfort and privacy of your room. All stress eating will have to be done in public. Also, it will be physically impossible to find a table since everyone will be trapped together in the Diner. Nothing’s more fun that choking down a burger with no elbow room.


“Come in any time we’re open and eat whatever you like”:

Translation: . . .No shit, really? Wow, imagine walking into an establishment during business hours and eating what’s on the menu! What a revolutionary concept! The new dining plan has so few redeeming features that UMD is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to make it sound new and cool.


To enter the dining hall . . . . you wave your hand over the reader, scanning four fingerprints at one time. The reader automatically converts the image into a hexadecimal identifier that connects to your dining plan.”

Translation: UMD really, really wants to look cool, so it’s installing some wannabe biometrics. Instead of paying with your swipe, wave your hand into the fancy machine thingy. The plus side is that losing your swipe won’t make you starve. The downside is that your tuition’s being used on fingerprint readers instead of something useful–like, say, better food.


Prints are not stored, and the data cannot be used to reverse engineer your print.”

Translation: Apparently UMD’s really concerned that we have the time, skill, and motivation to reverse engineer our fingerprints. (Or maybe this is their subtle way of giving the engineering majors a self esteem boost. “Our engineering department is so good that we believe in their ability to hack the system!” They clearly don’t realize that crappy Diner food is not worth that much effort. Also, any self-respecting food thief will steal food the old fashioned way–stuff it into their backpack and walk out the door.

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