Why students living off campus should consider meal plans

As students learning how to be adults on top of learning our course material, it can be difficult to find time in the day to eat right. Once we’re off campus, the daunting task of shopping correctly, preparing food, and cleaning up afterwards can seem impossible. The effort required to make a proper meal can lead to pizza rolls nightly, which in turn, leads to the ‘freshman fifteen’ a year late. 

To challenge this dilemma, consider off-campus meal plans at the dining center. Although the dining center may seem like a dorm-only privilege, it is not! All students are welcome to purchase meal plans. Students can grab a meal before or after classes, or stop by to snag a to-go box for supper and take it home. 

If a student is running late, they can cash in the meal plan dining dollars to grab some quick food, rather than attempting to learn on an empty stomach. Dining dollars are free dollars that come with meal plans that can be spent at on-campus restaurants via a student’s MavCard. Some meal plans also allow students to swap meals for more dining dollars, giving students even more flexibility with their eating options. 

The dining center provides easy-access to eating healthier options, such as salads. The dining center’s multiple food stations provide options for picky eaters, so students never feel the need to go hungry. 

Dining center meals can also serve as a break in your day to sit with friends and enjoy a meal, rather than isolating in an off-campus apartment. Alternatively, it can be a nice study space for students – the school’s student wifi reaches the dining center, making it a workspace option. 

Speaking of studying, students can save time in their days with meal plans. Rather than taking the time to drive home, make food, and drive back to campus between classes, students can walk over to the dining center, eat there and then find a quiet spot in the library to accomplish schoolwork. 

Additionally, purchasing a meal plan helps relieve immediate financial stress. Meal plans are tacked onto student loans, and thus can take groceries out of a student’s weekly spending budget. Not budgeting for groceries can allow students to either work less, or spend more on the things that they enjoy. 

Furthermore, off-campus meal plans can be helpful to students with dietary restrictions as well. Alternative milks and vegan meal options can oftentimes come up more pricey for students, and the dining center accommodates those concerns at the same price as every other student. 

Overall, meal plans for off-campus students offer a variety of benefits to students, and are definitely worth considering before tuition is due.

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