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A guide to sneaking into the dining hall

Monitoring access to university dining halls is a necessary evil, as it ensures that only those students who have paid for meal plans are accessing the tasty food inside. The story is no different at Michigan State, though some off-campus students have discovered a number of resourceful, though unwarranted, methods to get into university dining halls without swiping in or paying.

At MSU, dining hall employees are told to wait for the register to approve a student before handing their ID card back, but long lines and hungry, impatient students makes this a difficult task. According to a report from The State News, Michigan State’s student paper, those living off campus are still able to purchase a modified meal plan that grants them access to campus dining halls. However, there has been enough of a problem with students sneaking into dining halls — as many as one in 10 — that the paper compiled a list of common access methods.

Common methods for accessing one of MSU’s dining facilities as outlined by a university dining services manager:

“The Drop.” This method is specific to a particular MSU dining hall, but is resourceful nonetheless. The student swipes into the dining hall and then walks to an open, walled area that connects the first and second floors. The student then drops their ID card down to another waiting on the lower level and that student swipes in using the same ID.

“The Handoff.” One student swipes into the dining hall, gets a meal and sets their items down at a table. The student then asks the dining hall employee if they can leave the cafeteria to use the bathroom or go to the front desk. Once outside, the student hands their ID off to another student.

“The Relay.” The cash register at MSU dining facilities notify employees when a student tries to swipe their ID more then once in 15 minutes. This method sees two students who have meal plans enter the dining using their own IDs. One of the students then waits 15 minutes for the re-use violation to expire and leaves the dining hall with both IDs. The student then meets another student outside of the dining hall and gives them the extra ID and scans in again with their own.

“The Confident Caper.” This method sees a student confidently walk past the dining hall employee, implying they are working in the dining hall with hopes the employee won’t speak up. The employee in the situation may or may not stop the student prior to entering the dining hall.

“Lost in the Crowd.” This method sees a student attempt to enter the dining hall during a rush. The idea here is that the cashier, overwhelmed by the line entering the dining hall, quickly swipes student IDs without waiting for the register to catch up enabling the student to gain access and blend in before the cashier realizes the error.

“The Slip.” Another method common to this particular dining location, students swipe their ID to enter then slip the ID underneath the doors in a private study area to another student on the outside.

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