Tag Archives: flexi

5 Tips to Keep Fighting the Freshman 15 at USF

Living away from home gives us more freedom over what we eat, and that can lead to healthy or unhealthy food choices in college. Whether this is your first or second year in the dorms or you’re enjoying the privilege of living off campus, you should develop healthy habits to prevent those notorious fifteen pounds from catching up with you this year!

Here are five tips on how to take advantage of our campus resources and stay in shape at USF.

Tip # 1: Get creative with your flexi
Having a meal plan opens the door to all those foods your parents might have restricted. Pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, ice-cream and candy bars can be yours with a swipe of your USF ID! However, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to the prearranged meals the cafeteria has to offer.
Mix and match your options by putting grilled chicken on top of your salad bar creation, or use the chicken to accompany the rice and steamed veggies you bought from another station. Instead of piling on ranch dressing over your chicken, add some pico de gallo which contains tomato, onion, cilantro and bell peppers. Add some lemon juice to your vegetables for a final touch. Don’t forget to stock up on fruits and cereal for breakfasts on the go and study snacks.

Tip # 2: Power Walk up Lone Mountain
Walk up USF’s very own Stairmaster and within a couple weeks try walking over two steps at a time! The goal is to challenge yourself by increasing your speed or by repeating the action several times a week. If you don’t feel like confronting the stairs on a particular day, walk up the ramp from the side of the mountain and enter the building from the first floor. Either way your legs are in for a good workout.
Note: Make sure to have at least ten to fifteen minutes to climb up the mountain during your first couple of days to avoid showing up to your class sweaty and flushed.

Tip #3: Workout at Koret
You may regret not having taken advantage of USF’s gym after you graduate. Did you know that in the real world you have to pay for monthly membership? Why not sweat off those extra pounds while you can afford it!
Exercise independently on the treadmill, the bicycle or swim some laps in the gym’s pool.
Bring a friend with you. Schedule a weekly exercise routine with a Koret buddy that is sure to keep you on track.
Join one of the many fun exercise classes the gym has to offer such as spin, cardio kick and Zumba. This will help assign a specific time for your workout
Note: To access Koret’s group exercise class schedule visit: www.usfca.edu/Koret/Fitness/Group_Exercise_Schedule/
Also, pay attention to the gym’s posters because they often announce group outings such as horseback riding, bowling, surfing and skiing. These activities can help you meet new friends and stay active during your weekends.

Tip #4: Participate in USF’s Intramural Sports
Join an intramural team and find people who like sports just as much as you do. If you and your friends are just looking for a place to play, bring them along!
Note: To register for intramural sports view http://www.usfca.edu/Koret/Intramural_Sports/Intramural_Sports/
Tip #5: Always have a Backup Plan
Don’t have flexi anymore? This means you now have more control over how much salt, sugar and oil goes into your food. You also have more control over your portion sizes. Get a cookbook, look for recipes online or watch a food channel if you’re still not confident in your cooking skills.
Remember to plan ahead and think about how you can use leftovers to create new dishes. Fight the temptation to rely on packaged food just because you don’t want to spend money on cafeteria food and you didn’t make enough time to cook anything at home.
Keep weights, a yoga mat, or any other exercise equipment for dorm workouts in case you’re not able to go to the gym or make it to your exercise class. It’s a lot harder to get back into your exercise routine if you keep interrupting it.

Tips to Follow in 2012
If getting into better shape this year was one of your new year’s resolutions, consider these tips:

DO: “GO TO KORET for 30 minutes a day…I mean, they have great facilities and it’s free, plus 30 minutes doesn’t take that much time if you’re really willing to stay in shape.”
DON’T: “[Constantly eat] from the pizza station from the caf/Crossroads…they are delicious, but so fatty!”Jessy Mekpoh, Alumna, Media Studies

DO: “Avoid going crazy with your meal plan, and treat other people who don’t have flexi.”
DON’T: “Go to Outtahere after hours for their breakfast meals. IT WILL KILL YOUR CHOLESTEROL LEVELS.” Ricardo Garcia, Junior, Biology

DO: “Boxing with the USF Boxing Team because the workout with Coach is intense and there is a lot of support from teammates.” Contact Coach Angelo at afmerino@sbcglobal.net for more information.
DON’T: “Skip meals to lose weight.” Carmen Fernandez, Senior, Biology

DO: “Try taking a workout class instead of going at it alone if you need more inspiration to go.”
DON’T: “Spend all of your flexi on junk food, be smart about what you choose to use as energy.”
Victoria Cortez, Senior, Psychology

Concerns Over Flexi Plan May Lead to Changes in Bon Appétit

During this spring semester some students will face the reoccurring challenge of making sure their meal plans stay on budget, while others may have abundant funds left over on their flexi accounts.
Several questions may arise.

What happens to the funds forfeited at the end of the spring semester, and how much those funds are collected each year?

Why does everyone have the same flexi plan when students have different eating habits? Why are the prices on campus higher than other surrounding food establishments?

In September, Foghorn staff writer Sascha Rosemond reported on the combativeness of Bon Appétit General Manager Holly Winslow, and her efforts to develop sustainable initiatives while offering affordable food. That article addressed the complexity of the market’s cyclical patterns and its impact on the high costs of purchasing local farm foods.

But what about the non-organic products?

In an attempt to update students on matters pertaining to the cost of Bon Appétit foods, the Foghorn planned to do a price comparison between products sold by Bon Appétit and nearby grocery store Lucky.
The price comparison was not concluded however because findings showed there were price inconsistencies among particular items at Bon Appétit’s campus establishments.

For example a box of Frosted Flakes at Bon Appétit’s café Outtahere sells for $6.50, while the cafeteria located upstairs sells it for $7.00.

In an interview with General Manager Holly Winslow and Director of Operations Heather Ogg last semester, Winslow chose not to comment on the price difference. There were however responses to the price for flakes at Lucky, which was $4.49.

Ogg said, “Yes! Prices are really driven by the market…The cost of bringing in certain items is definitely going to be different to what a grocery store would be because of the volume they are selling the items for.”

She added, “Bon Appétit vendors send us a new price list each time we make an order. And we dictate our prices to what it costs us to purchase items.”

When asked who Bon Appétit’s vendors are, Ogg didn’t specify names.

With regards to updates Bon Appétit has made, Winslow said that since August Bon Appétit has started accepting cash again at 13 of the 14 registers in the cafeteria.

“Cash is the new black, and I’ve brought cash back,” Winslow said.

Winslow added she has also taken steps to help students budget their flexi accounts.

When asked about the ways flexi resembles the use of debit cards or “plastic money,” Winslow said she thinks the current meal plan is “simple” and “streamlined.”

“Here’s pretty much a debit card, and we are asking students to learn how to manage their money,” Winslow said.

Yet not all students eat as much or as little as their Flexi plan allows.

“The conversations are certainly happening with parents and students. My daughter doesn’t eat like an athlete; yet their meal plans are the same. I would be lying if I said these conversations were not happening, they certainly are,” Winslow said.

Ogg added, “Although these conversations are happening, they are not at the level to where we need to make changes to the program.”

Yet Winslow said, “The continual look at meal plans has been evolving since I’ve been at USF for the past five years, and the possibility of it evolving again is something that could definitely happen again.”
When asked if any student complaints have been brought to Winslow’s attention, she said only comments regarding hours of operation and cleanliness have been reported.

In regards of outlets for students to address their concerns Winslow said, “There are tell the chief comment cards, but they’re not out right now.” She didn’t mention when comment cards will be out for students.
Ogg said she feels dining services are quick to respond to any concerns that arise. She added that Bon Appétit has an open door policy. Student comments are always welcome.

According to Winslow, the current meal plan would be asessed this semester.
Bon Appétit presents a business progress report to the Board of Trustees every year. During this time Bon Appétit also proposes new initiatives to the Vice President for the Division of Business & Finance, Charles E. Cross.

Cross oversees Bon Appétit’s operations.
When asked regarding how much money is forfeited when students don’t use all of their meal plan money at the end of the spring semester, Winslow said, “It changes every year, and when students read the word forfeited, Bon Appétit doesn’t get to keep the money. The only money we get is when students purchase at the register.”

She added, “When there is money left over the university keeps the remaining, which is not very much, and the university typically uses the money for construction or food services.”

During a phone interview with Charles E. Cross last semester, he said the estimated amount collected from students that forfeit their meal plans each year is $80,000. Cross said funds are used to improve dining services, such as ovens, refrigerators, and other needed structural improvements.

When asked regarding student’s limitations in choosing the amount of their flexi accounts Cross said, “When we had multiple types of meal plans we had them changed because students were getting penalized too often, so we decided to find a low base rate and use a streamline meal plan.”

When asked what concerns he has heard the most, he said most comments are about Bon Appétit’s high prices and short hours of operation. Cross said he was also open to student proposals, but he suggested students remember Bon Appétit is a business that seeks to make a profit on the services they provide.
Toward the end of last semester, Bon Appétit’s Holly Winslow, Executive Chef, Jon Hall, and Cafe Manager, Blanca Garcia reported to ASUSF Senate on several student concerns, among them operation hours.
Making Outtahere open 24 hours, a promise made two years ago, was one of the inquiries addressed.
Winslow and Garcia both responded it being a liability issue due to safety concerns of student’s late night behavior.

Such behavior included students throwing up when seeking food late at night. Other concerns included hiring employees that would work night shifts and having sufficient late night customers.
When asked how campus security has been helping, Winslow said, “Our public safety has been amazing. A couple things they have implemented. So we have been collaborating by getting panic buttons and the automatic lock doors have really helped too, and another is they have been frequently checking in with us every hour.”

Winslow added that the enhanced security could help with the future development of having a 24 hour food service.

Winslow also asked senators to brainstorm a business approach that would explore whether it is cost effective to have more night hours.

During the interview with Winslow and Ogg last semester, both pointed out the inconsistency of the cafeteria’s operation during each semester, and mentioned the challenges of operating roughly 20 weeks this semester. Bon Appétit was closed Thanksgiving Day and they were closed for six weeks during winter break.Shortage in hours is a concern for many students and some are looking for ways to use their flexi off campus.

Freshman Christina Nguyen, a student sitting in the Senate meeting’s audience, suggested the possibility of using flexi at local businesses.

“The possibility might be favorable for businesses considering they will get more business… we don’t always have to eat at the cafeteria but we will always have that option,” Nguyen said.

Ideas of forming a student food committee that can sit down with Bon Appétit and the University to discuss student’s concerns was also proposed during the end of fall semester senate meeting.
ASUSF President, Lexington Wochner said in a private interview, “I think ultimately what needs to happen is we need to have clearer channels of communication. I think the food committee is a good starting point, so students can get the information they need to make responsible decisions for themselves.”

He added, “ I think students need to know they can advocate for their meal plans, but ultimately what needs to happen is students need to be empowered to help make responsible choices… once information is out there it is on the responsibility of the student to take the information and make conscious decisions.”

Bon Appétit Concerns Suggest Improvements are Needed

Caff by Emily Bogden

As the fall semester comes to an end, some students will face the reoccurring challenge of making sure their meal plans stay on budget, while others may have abundant funds roll onto their flexi account next semester.

Yet, students may have had other concerns regarding campus dining that may also extend to the spring.

Some questions may include what happens to the funds forfeited at the end of the spring semester and how much funds are collected each year? Why does everyone have the same flexi plan when students have different eating habits? Why are the prices on campus higher than other surrounding food establishments?

In September, Foghorn staff writer Sascha Rosemond reported on the combativeness of Bon Appétit General Manager, Holly Winslow and her efforts to develop sustainable initiatives while offering affordable food. That article addressed the complexity of the market’s cyclical patterns and its impact on the high costs of purchasing local farm foods.

But what about the non-organic products?
In an attempt to update students on matters pertaining to the cost of Bon Appétit foods, the Foghorn did a price comparison between products sold by Bon Appétit and nearby grocery store Lucky. The price comparison was not conclusive because findings showed there were price inconsistencies among particular items at Bon Appétit’s campus establishments.

One item for example was a box of Frosted Flakes. Bon Appétit café, Outtahere, sells it for $6.50 while the cafeteria located upstairs sells it for $7.00.

In an interview with General Manager Holly Winslow and Director of Operations Heather Ogg, Winslow chose not to comment on the price difference. However, there was a response for Lucky’s price, which was $4.49.

Ogg said, “Yes! Prices are really driven by the market…The cost of bringing in certain items is definitely going to be different to what a grocery store would be because of the volume they are selling the items for.”

She added, “Bon Appétit vendors send us a new price list each time we make an order. And we dictate our prices by what it costs us to purchase items.”
When asked who Bon Appétit’s vendors are, Ogg didn’t specify names.
With regards to updates Bon Appétit has made, Winslow said Bon Appétit has started accepting cash again at 13 of the 14 registers in the cafeteria since August.

“Cash is the new black, and I’ve brought cash back,” Winslow said.
Winslow added she has also taken steps to help students budget their flexi accounts.

Recognizing that Dons dollars and flexi can cause students to lose track of how much money they actually spend, Winslow has created 8×11 inch budget posters and displayed them around the cafeteria. The posters outline how much flexi students should have during their final weeks of the semester.

When asked about the ways flexi resembles the use of debit cards in our plastic money culture, Winslow said she thinks the current meal plan is “simple” and “streamlined” since in her opinion the plan is easy to understand.
“Here’s pretty much a debit card, and we are asking students to learn how to manage their money,” Winslow said.

Yet not all students eat as much or as little as their Flexi plan allows.

“The conversations are certainly happening with parents and students, such as my daughter doesn’t eat like an athlete yet their meal plans are the same. I would be lying if I said these conversations were not happening, they certainly are,” Winslow said.

Ogg added, “Although these conversations are happening they are not at the level to where we need to make changes to the program.”

Yet Winslow said, “The continual look at meal plans has been evolving since I’ve been at USF for the past five years, and the possibility of it evolving again is something that could definitely happen again.”

When asked if any student complaints have been brought to Winslow’s attention, she said only comments regarding hours of operation and cleanness have been reported.

In regards of there being outlets for students to address their concerns, Winslow said, “There are ‘Tell the Chief’ comment cards, but they’re not out right now.” She didn’t mention when comment cards will be out again for students.

Ogg however, said she feels dining services is quick to respond to any concerns that come up. She added Bon Appétit has an open door policy. Student comments are always welcome.

According to Winslow, the current meal plan will be assessed in January.
Bon Appétit, however, presents a business progress report to the Board of Trustees every year. It is during this time that Bon Appétit also proposes new initiatives to the Vice President for the Division of Business & Finance, Charles E. Cross.
Cross oversees Bon Appétit’s operations.

When asked how much money is forfeited when students don’t use all of their meal plan money at the end of the spring semester, Winslow said, “It changes every year, and when students read the word forfeited, Bon Appétit doesn’t get to keep the money. The only money we get is when students purchase at the register.”
She added, “When there is money left over the university keeps the remaining, which is not very much, and the university typically uses the money for construction or food services.”

During a phone interview with Charles E. Cross he said the estimated amount collected from students that forfeit their meal plans each year is $80,000. Cross said funds are used to improve dining services, such as ovens, refrigerators, and other needed structural improvements.

When asked about student’s limitations in choosing the amount of their flexi accounts Cross said, “When we had multiple types of meal plans we had them changed because students were getting penalized too often, so we decided to find a low base rate and use a streamline meal plan.”

When asked what concerns Cross had heard the most, he said most comments are about Bon Appétit’s high prices and short hours of operation. Cross said he was also open to student proposals, but he suggested students remember Bon Appétit is a business that seeks to make a profit on the services they provide.

Last week, Bon Appétit’s Holly Winslow, Executive Chef, Jon Hall, and Café Manager, Blanca Garcia reported to ASUSF Senate on several student concerns, among them operation hours.

For example, reasons for not making Outtahere open 24 hours, a promise made two years ago was one of the inquiries addressed.

Winslow and Garcia both responded, explaining that it is a liability issue due to safety concerns of student’s late night behavior. Such behavior included students throwing up when seeking food late at night. Other concerns included hiring employees that would work night shifts and having sufficient late night customers.

When asked how campus security has been helping, Winslow said, “Our public safety has been amazing. A couple things they have implemented, so we have been collaborating by getting panic buttons and the automatic lock doors have really helped too, and another is they have been frequently checking in with us every hour.”

Winslow added that the enhanced security could help with the future development of having a 24 hour food service.

Winslow also asked senators to brainstorm a business approach that would explore whether it is cost effective to have more night hours.

During the interview with Winslow and Ogg both pointed out the inconsistency of the cafeteria’s operation during each semester, and mentioned the challenges of operating roughly 20 weeks this semester. Bon Appétit was closed Thanksgiving Day and they will be closed for six weeks during winter break.

Shortage in hours is a concern for many students and some are looking for ways to use their flexi off campus.

Freshman Christina Nguyen, a student sitting in the audience, suggested the possibility of using flexi at local businesses. “This possibility might be favorable for businesses considering they will get more business, and this might make the cafeteria more appetizing because we don’t always have to eat at the cafeteria but we will always have that option,” Nguyen said.

Ideas of forming a student food committee that can sit down with Bon Appétit and the University to discuss student’s concerns was also proposed during the senate meeting.

ASUSF President, Lexington Wochner said in a private interview, “I think ultimately what needs to happen is we need to have clearer channels of communication. I think the food committee is a good starting point, so students can get the information they need to make responsible decisions for themselves.” He added, “ I think students need to know they can advocate for their meal plans, but ultimately what needs to happen is students need to be empowered to help make responsible choices… once information is out there it is on the responsibility of the student to take the information and make conscious decisions.”

Making the Most of Your Flexi-Years

During my tenure at USF I have been afforded the ability to try nearly everything Market Café has to offer. While deeming myself an expert on cafeteria fare might be a slap to my reputation, I’m willing to admit I have the dish (pun intended) on how to eat like a king, or queen, during your Flexi-years.

Muy Bueno Burrito
It took me a long time to figure it out, but after a grueling day of classes during junior year I managed to do it. I found the perfect mixture of ingredients to make the most mouthwatering burrito. I know tastes differ, but the ingredients used to create what I like to call the Muy Bueno Burrito naturally compliment each other. The components to create a fiesta for your mouth are as follows: black beans, ground beef, lettuce, cheese and sour cream.The perfect balance lies between choice of sauce and a deliberate pass on rice within the burrito. I suggest getting salsa on the side, and although you nixed the rice nothing is stopping you from ordering it on the side. The side of rice can be a life saver if you feel overwhelmed by the glory that is the MBB. (Burrito, $6.25)

Poor Boy Bagel Sandwich
The end of my sophomore year brought new lows for my Flexi balance. A few quick calculations revealed that I had only five dollars a day for food expenses to get me through the last three weeks of school. I quickly began to search out low-cost options to keep my energy up as finals week loomed near. It was then I realized bagels were possibly the cheapest option in the cafeteria. Using some serious brain power, I discovered the condiment cart near the grill had all I needed to make a tasty veggie sandwich. Once you’ve bought your bagel, add the following: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, pickles (on the side for sporadic munching), mustard (I prefer the Dijon) and some salt and pepper. (Bagel, $1.40)

DSC_0099

Heather Spellacy enjoying sushi. (Emily Bogden/Foghorn)

Way-Better-than-Last-Year’s Sushi
I’m not sure how much the food has been affected by the design changes of the cafeteria, but I have concluded that the quality of the sushi has skyrocketed. The pre-packaged sushi of yesteryear was usually dried out and only contained a slice or two of ginger. The new sushi bar has brought with it two legitimate sushi chefs who make rolls that are pretty terrific. If you’re craving sushi opt for the rainbow roll. The roll includes fresh avocado, tuna and salmon (possibly some other fish too, but fish classification isn’t my specialty). I’ve never been a big fan of the spicy tuna rolls though because they always seem a bit too fishy for my taste. The California roll is fair, while the tempura rolls are hit or miss, sometimes bordering on too dry. Make sure to get some ginger, wasabi and soy sauce on the side. Edamame is an extra charge, but is a nice addition to the rolls. (Rainbow roll, $10.00)

If the three options above just aren’t cutting it, here are a few more tips. A chicken breast from the grill is a great addition to a salad from the vegan bar. The Hawaiian pizza has always been the best out of all the pizza options. On chilly foggy days (so, everyday) a grilled cheese sandwich (ask them to use both Cheddar and American, yum!) and tomato soup makes for a cozy meal. Don’t forget the power of a little salt and pepper.
The cafeteria offers a good variety, but it’s easy to get tired of the basics. Use your noggin and come up with your own mixtures. Happy dining!

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian

Budget Flexi, Drink From the Tap

Midterms are coming to an end and half of the semester is complete. Students who live on campus and use Flexi should have about $900 left according to a week by week budget created by Jon Torres, senior cafe manager of Bon Appetit.  For the week beginning on October 27th, students should have $896.55 remaining. By purchasing meals for friends and making impulse buys, some students run through their Flexi points quickly. The meal plan for on-campus students is $1,905 each semester.  Torres and Holly Winslow, manager of Bon Appetit, have worked to create bail out specials, which feature a daily $1 special food item, such as pizza and soup.

To budget Flexi, Winslow suggested decreasing impulse purchases and also limiting the consumption of boutique bottled water, like Dasani and Evian. She said that the tap water available in the cafeteria is from Hetch Hetchy, a water reservoir near Yosemite National Park, which is “pure and free.”  Winslow said, “I would much rather see students using their own (reusable) water bottles.” Purchasing bottled water “has a tendency to drive the check up,” she said.

USF students typically make about five trips through the cafeteria each day. Winslow said that these fly by trips and spontaneous buys can also eat away at Flexi points. She cautioned, “Be aware of how many times you are walking through.”

While the current meal plan does provide for three hot meals a day, replacing scrambled eggs and tater tots with a bagel could help students conserve Flexi.

Sophomores Morgan Harper and Jenae Lozada both have about $900 left. Harper isn’t concerned with running out of Flexi, she said, “ I can estimate it because I don’t eat here on the weekends.”  Lozada said, “I eat out too. I get sick of the cafeteria food.”  Sophomore Quin Herron has a $634 balance and is being a bit more careful about his spending than at the beginning of the semester. For those concerned about running out of Flexi points, Winslow said that last year she made her phone number available to students to discuss their low balances. She met with ten students, five of whom began working for Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit offers student workers Flexi and complimentary employee meals as additional benefits. Winslow said, “Before students revert to inappropriate behavior, (they should) come talk to Jon or myself. We will always help the students.”

Flexi Bailout

Since I do not as much money as the government to save enormous business conglomerates from going out of business, I do not currently have the funds available to keep fueling the economy in a large way. With flexi running low and the variety of food at the caf running dry, I am certainly getting tired of eating at the caf. However, I have come up with some ways to keep my flexi expenses low while still filling my belly.

1. Sleep through breakfast

2. For lunch, get a bagel, toast it, and take one of the pre-made sandwiches from large cooler and take out the stuff between the sandwich. Add your desired condiments, put it in one of those little white bags for the bread, and guaranteed, they will only charge you for a bagel with cream cheese.

3. Eat only AT the caf! Did you know they charge you an extra $.35 whenever you get something in one of those to-go things? Ridiculous. Just suck it up and use the for-here plates. I know they come in ugly colors, but it’s worth that extra piece of bread.

4. Don’t ever drink bottled water again. I could go on and on about this. A. complete waste of money. B. complete waste of plastic. C. complete waste of so many other fossil fuels that destroy the environment that I don’t understand. The big D. Invest in a reusable water bottle: it will be the best 10 bucks ever spent. Plus, the water from the soda fountain in the caf is, one word, AMAZING. As an official water connoisseur, I can tell you it is the best water on campus and certainly better than that “smart” stuff you’ve been drinking.

5. Disclaimer: I swear I have never done this, and do not support this in any way, but I have heard of people doing this. Anyway, I heard that people sometimes order a burrito from the “salsa” station, take one of the large CocaCola cups, stuff it in there, put a cap on it and walk out of the caf. But that’s probably just a rumor.
6. Don’t every buy anything from Outtakes that isn’t a potato or a sandwich. Anything you buy there is going to be marked up at least 30% higher than the original price. You might as well shop at Lucky’s or Trader Joes if you want to go grocery shopping. Ps- the panini’s here are amazing.

There is much more wisdom I could impart, but these are enough to get you started. Through these tips, I can proudly say that I have over $300 flexi dollars left. Though my taste buds may hate me right now, for half of them have been burned off by the ridiculously hot tea at the caf, I am just thankful that I can spend my flexi money on the wonderful Bon Appetit food as opposed to my real money.

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