Jude: The Unlimited Access plan is the way to go
Up until Sept. 13 at 4:00 p.m. on-campus students have the opportunity to switch their meal plan, according to UVM Dinings Frequently Asked Questions page.
They can choose between the Unlimited Access plan, the Retail Point plan and the Flex plan – a combination of the first two options, according to UVM Dining’s Plan Info and Options page.
Going through the traditional dining hall experience is something all college students should experience, which is why I recommend staying on the Unlimited Access plan for first-years.
While the food isn’t always mouth watering or appetizing, the experience of eating with your classmates, chatting with the dining hall staff and making new connections are all valuable parts of college life you may miss out on if you only use retail points.
Whether you make plans with friends to get a meal together or just walk in and sit with someone you know –or better yet someone you don’t know – the social aspect of the dining halls are unparalleled.
I’ve made loads of connections while in the dining halls, whether that came from sitting with a friend and their friends and getting introduced or just talking to people waiting in line and hitting it off.
Sure, the retail locations on campus offer seating and some socialization, but a lot of students tend not to linger. The environments in the Marché and the Redstone Market aren’t nearly as active as those in traditional dining halls.
Food has the ability to bring all of us together and make strong bonds between people, so grab a Grundle burger and start mingling.
Grace: Stop hating on the Grundle
People love to shit on the dining halls – especially the Grundle. Nevertheless, I am a big Grundle stan.
But it isn’t the food that makes the Grundle great, it’s the experiences.
I’ve been told by many people that I am the Grundle’s biggest supporter; I hype it up to everyone and I think it is so much fun to be there. It’s literally called “The Grundle.”
People love to complain about the quality of the food and the repetitiveness, but I see the silver lining of the vastly disliked dining hall.
My friends and I make the most of it. We try new foods, make our own weird – and sometimes gross – drink concoctions, debrief about our days and meet a whole bunch of characters.
I’ve watched other groups bring some fun to the Grundle as well. Like when two boys dramatically carried down their chess set and started intently playing during dinner.
It is the atmosphere and the people that make the Grundle what it is. So when you are eating in the Grundle take the time to enjoy it and appreciate the people around you.
Make silly memories, meet cool people and appreciate the unique vibe. The Grundle can be a lot of fun if you let it be.
Mallory: UVM’s Retail Point plan is the way to go
First-years probably have heard about UVM’s dining halls plenty of times, but many should also hear about UVM’s on-campus retail options.
There is Brennan’s Pub & Bistro, CAT Pause Convenience Store, Davis Center Farmers’ Market, FeelGood, Henderson’s Cafe, The Marketplace, New World Tortilla, UVM Dairy Bar and more elsewhere. While the dining halls are pretty cool, so are the Retail places.
Let’s be realistic, if you’re craving a late night snack while studying and the dining hall is closed, you can always go to the Skinny Pancake to grab a late night snack.
If you just don’t feel like socializing or don’t have the time to, it’s nice to have the option to get food to go.
Personally, with a packed schedule, I don’t have time to go to the dining hall. Instead, I will get food from the Marché and bring it outside to study as I eat.
It’s also nice to get food to go when you want to eat outside with friends and take in nature with them.
Mary: The Central campus dining hall is not all that
When you get on campus, you’ll hear so much hype about the Central campus dining hall. But trust me when I say, it’s not worth it.
I understand going there if you’re near Central, but if you are anywhere else on campus, the walk alone should be deterrent enough.
During the brutal Vermont winters, in the rain and wind, Central often has a line to just get in the door and out of the cold.
The food isn’t bad at all, but it’s constantly busy, meaning it’s often difficult to find a seat, or you’ll have to wait in huge lines to get any of the food you want.
Central also has the most confusing layout of any dining hall on campus. You can walk in circles and still not be able to find what you’re looking for, and again, the amount of people makes it even harder to figure out.
The first time I went to Central, I kept ending up at the drinks, and all I wanted was some food. It took more effort than it should have to get a slice of pizza.
The stress-inducing layout and amount of options and masses of people create an atmosphere that leaves me longing for the open floor plan and easy dining experience Harris-Millis gives me much closer to my dorm.
Emily: Don’t worry vegetarians, UVM dining halls have great options for you
I haven’t eaten meat in seven years, so I was scared to enter a dining hall setting that might not cater to me.
UVM is the perfect place to continue your diet of choice if you know how to vet the dining halls.
The dining halls always have some sort of vegetarian option, but after eating bland lasagna and pizza that some fool decided to put bleu cheese on, I got sick of it.
You do not have to take the pre-planned options.
I would often go to Central’s pasta bar and then grab butter from the desserts to make buttered pasta. At Simpson, I would grab rice or noodles from the veggie station and then put vegetables on top from elsewhere like the kosher section.
If you are worried about finding vegetarian options, don’t be, there is always something to eat for us veggie heads if you know where to look.