Chip Lauterbach, Contributing Writer
A pair of University of Virginia graduates are bringing an alternative meal plan to VCU students this semester.
The plans, which come from a company called Elevate, include “swipes” for a variety of Richmond restaurants. Co-founders Seth Kramer and Josh Cohen said they saw the need for the service when they noticed that on-campus dining hall plans tend to go up in price without updating or changing the meals offered to students.
Between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, VCU dining plans increased in price by about $45.
Elevate started with trial runs at UVA in 2013. The company now offers plans at several universities in the country including Florida State University, Cornell University, UVA, University of Michigan and UNC-Chapel Hill.
“One of the biggest factors we look at when looking for campuses to bring Elevate to is if there are a lot of really great restaurants in the area,” Kramer said. “Richmond was just a good fit, having a wide variety of dining experiences.”
Elevate’s meal plans do not expire at the end of each semester, and the meals are available until students graduate. Like VCU Dining plans, Elevate’s options are also available to students who live off campus.
Among the local participating establishments are Asado, Foo Dog, Poke Sushi Bowl, Deep Run Roadhouse, Elephant Thai and NuVegan Cafe, among others. Kramer and Cohen said they are talking with several other restaurants for future partnerships, which they hope to announce soon.
Elevate dining plans are priced similarly to those offered by VCU. A 45-meal Elevate plan costs $449, while students can buy a VCU plan with 50 swipes and 75 dining dollars for $561. A VCU plan with 100 swipes and 75 dining dollars costs $961, and the 100-meal Elevate plan rings in at $1,019.