Best Colleges For Campus Dining

From Caviar-Topped Bruschetta To Pan-Seared Filet, These Are Our Top Campus Dining Colleges
 From Caviar-Topped Bruschetta To Pan-Seared Filet, These Are Our Top Campus Dining Colleges

Ask your parents what it was like when they went to college. When it comes to dining, we’ll bet they don't say they had a 24-hour Taco Bell on campus, multiple Starbucks, and the option to dine at a restaurant that was almost in the running for a Michelin rating. But for college students these days, it’s not only common but expected.

Campus dining options have expanded greatly. Today, it’s not just about making sure you’re fed. It’s making sure you’re fed anything you want, at any hour, in the most convenient location. And we’re not complaining. We require Rainbow rolls with wild Alaskan king salmon and avocado shipped that day from Mexico if we’re going to ace these finals.

That said, here’s our list of colleges with the best dining options.


Cornell University


Our favorite thing about Cornell is probably their marketing and promotions -- check their dining services homepage, where they proudly tout everything from the new "Impossible Plant-Based Burger" which dropped in March, to the variety of events hosted at their dining halls like Mushroom Mania, or the “May the Fourth be With You Dinner,” an annual Star Wars themed dinner. We appreciate Cornell’s enthusiasm, as well as the diversity in dining options available. They place a focus on bringing the "flavors of the world" to campus, with Italian-inspired pastas and freshly rolled sushi.

University of Massachusetts


UMass is all about the all-you-can-eat experience -- which also wins awards for its focus on what it calls its four foundational principles: Health, World Flavors, Sustainability, and Community. According to the university, they have five dining commons, eighteen retail cafes, Kosher and Halal options, two food trucks, a delivery service, a bakeshop, a catering service, concessions, and "Club" dining, all of which are “ready to welcome you with open arms.” Ranked the #1 best school for campus dining by The Princeton Review, they also publish a variety of “dining guides” and recipe cookbooks.


University of California - Berkeley


Cal Dining promises “Zero Waste by 2020” through a recycling and composting program, and is considered one of the greenest food service programs in the country. They sell snacks in zero-packaging bulk bins, and meals and drinks in reusable cups and containers across campus. Their focus is on “plant-forward cooking,” with vegan, vegetarian, and non-dairy options at all locations, so it’s a great school to consider if you’re serious about trying to watch your weight through college. And take a look at the list of organizations and co-op’s that they get their food from -- you certainly won’t feel like you’re on a college campus anymore.


James Madison University


We’re here for the on-campus Auntie Anne’s, Carvel ice cream shop, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and a host of other franchises we always fall for. But if chain dining isn’t your thing, they also feature an a la carte restaurant, called Bistro 185, which features an ongoing lineup of local eats, all sourced from locations near Charlottesville, VA.


Clemson University


Clemson wins on price. The university’s meal plan comes in at around $4,000 a year, which is cheaper than most, considering the versatility it provides (we’re talking Raising Cane’s, Panda Express, and more of your favorite guilty pleasures and health fixes), along with the brand-spankin new Modernist dining hall. Clemson priorities sustainability as well, with 100% of fryer oil used by dining services being recycled for bio-diesel, and using to-go containers that are made to be reusable. Another perk is that like some of the other college campuses, they also provide the Tapingo app which allows you to order food remotely.


Kennesaw State University


We love Kennesaw State because the school runs its own campus garden, which includes a 1,200-square-foot herb garden, and a weekly farmers market in the spring and fall. Sustainability is such a huge initiative at the school, through programs like single stream recycling and large-scale composting that make sure as little waste is created, and most is reused. Their comprehensive waste management program results in more than 43,800 pounds of waste being diverted from a landfill each month. On top of that, dining services at the school even allow for students to order their food remotely through an app at restaurants like Burrito Bowl, Chick-fil-A, Stacks and Starbucks.


Virginia Tech


We’ve seen VT often in rankings in years past, as they were voted #1 for Best College Food in 2016 according to, and ranked #3 for Best Campus Food by The Princeton Review that same year. And according to the school’s website, their dining program is at the leading edge of national trends, with students regularly making comments along the lines of "I brag about our food service to my friends and family." Nothing like patting yourselves on the back, VT. Nonetheless, the food options are diverse, with a variety open late, and the dining halls are spotless.


University of Georgia


Georgia knows how to have fun, from allowing students to submit their homemade recipes to be featured on the school’s rotating menu, to the “Find the Food Truck” event where the iconic truck parks at different locations across campus. They take food just as seriously as they don't, however, with regular chef competitions and challenges on campus and beyond that have won the school numerous awards. Dine in here.




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