The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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What Happened to the Footlong?

352 students sign petition to bring back the meal exchange option.

Recently, Subway decided to eliminate the option of a footlong sandwich for meal exchange due to changes in the Franchise pricing structure. Meanwhile, resident students are advised to pay over $2,000 for a meal plan. 

“As you may know, the Subway Franchise recently eliminated the ‘$5 Footlong’ promotion and as a result, Chartwells who operate Marillac Hall under the Subway Franchise menu and pricing guidelines were no longer able to keep the foot long sandwich as an option for meal exchanges,” Scott Lemperle, Executive Director of Auxiliary and Conference Services said.

According to Lemperle, the original Subway meal exchange only offered the “regular size sandwich” (6-inch) and later expanded its options when the $5 Footlong promotion in 2008.

“From time to time, adjustments like this are necessary in light of changes to franchise promotions and other market conditions. All of the meal exchanges on campus vary by location, and the sites that have national  brands need to offer similar choices that the brands typically offer as a packaged meal at their traditional stores,” Lemperle explained.

On Friday Sept. 20, I created a petition on behalf of the change where 352 students signed a “Petition to Have Footlong  Subway Sandwhiches Back for Meal Exchange.”

While roaming the campus with Creative Director of The Torch, Spencer Clinton, behind the camera recording the process (video on, students spoke about their views towards Subway’s elimination of the infamous foot long sub.

Darren Maraj, a junior with the Carte Blanche meal plan, explained his reaction to the change. 

“I was furious and puzzled at the fact that as a Junior at St. John’s, me along with hundreds of other students were going to get hit with a dramatic change on our meal plan. I was furious that we were going to be short changed for our meal for something with less portion and more dissatisfaction. I was puzzled that out of all the money we distribute to pay for our expenses and tuition to this school that, out of the blue, our school would cut down what is arguably the go-to spot for meal-exchange, especially without a valid explanation provided,” Maraj explained.

Maraj, along with the 352 students who signed the petition are not pleased. “It is unfair for students like myself, who’ve grown accustomed to the traditional foot-long meal plan, and for incoming freshman who may not have a clear idea of what this University can really offer them as far as food choices go,” Maraj said.

Alicia Villafana, a senior with an unlimited meal plan, found out about the change through word of mouth from student to student and from the Subway employees when she meal exchanged.

“I don’t believe the cost of a meal plan and portions line up. For Monty’s it’s great because it’s a buffet. However, the options they have aren’t always appealing. For meal exchange in DAC or Marillac, the portions definitely don’t represent what a full meal would be, especially for us growing kids, that are involved and definitely take our health seriously,” Villafana explained.

In regards to the issue, the executive board of SGI met with dining services on Sept. 29, in hopes to learn more about the situation. According to SGI, they are continuously following up with the food service company, Chartwell’s, to voice the concerns of the student body.

SGI President, Matthew Macatula, responded when asked if he believes the amount of food the University offers and the amount of money a student spends on a meal plan are congruent.

“As a student first and foremost, I am without an opinion because there is no pure data that I can compare our current meal plan with. In terms of congruency, I will continue to make sure dining services is aware of the opinion of the students,” Macatula explained.

Though this Fall, new restaurants with meal exchange have been added such as Einstein Bros. Bagels which is located on the first floor of St. Augustine Hall. Meal exchange is offered from 11a-3p on weekends. Also new in Marillac, Pom & Honey and Chaat House are available for meal exchange from 5p-7:30p.

However – resident students pay between $2,220-3,225 per semester for a meal plan while swift changes without notice, like the Subway meal exchange, are made.

Watch the video here:

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