Monday, March 5, 2012

Study on Student Spending

A survey was recently given out to Kalamazoo College students in order to examine student spending in regards to the meal plans offered on campus. This study was conducted by two students currently enrolled in a Business Statistics course at the college, Colin Lennox and Devin Opp. These students chose to conduct this study due to its relevance with the current issues surrounding food on campus. Kalamazoo College's contract with its food provider, Sodexo, is coming to an end and the college has decided to go out for bid. This is a rare occurrence, as the college usually renews its contract with Sodexo, which means the decision will be thoroughly analyzed and that students will have an important voice during the bidding process. The survey was completed by 32 different Kalamazoo College students, primarily freshmen and sophomores, who live in the dorms on campus. Since the college requires students who live on campus to buy a meal plan, these students were able to offer the best insight on student spending in regards to food.

The study found that, on average, Kalamazoo College students spend $123.34 per month (excluding tuition, room and board, books, etc.). Although students have meal plans, they usually go out to eat about four times a month and shop at grocery stores about twice a month. This is most likely because students are not fully satisfied with the current food provider. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being completely satisfied, the average rating for the dining services is 3.27. The majority of students, 77%, believe that there should be more options when it comes to choosing a meal plan, especially due to the fact that they are mandatory for on-campus students. Out of the students surveyed, 50% would be willing to pay more money to receive better quality food in the cafeteria.

Overall, there are many factors Kalamazoo College must consider in choosing its next food provider. Appropriately so, the voice of the student body is important to the administration throughout this decision-making process, and this student-led study offers crucial statistical evidence relating to food spending and satisfaction with the current food provider.

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