UMass Amherst dining has been named #1 Best Campus Food in the country by the Princeton Review for four years in a row now. With four main dining halls, tons of on-campus eateries and cafes, and two food trucks, UMass Dining really does have it all. As I finish my sophomore year as a student at UMass Amherst, I have thoroughly enjoyed everything UMass dining has had to offer so far. I want to share some of my favorite parts of UMass dining here for any incoming freshmen or students making college decisions!
Meal Plans and More Meal Plans
When students begin at UMass, they choose a meal plan, which usually comes with a number of swipes (or an unlimited amount), and an amount of dining dollars. There are a variety of meal plans you can choose from on the UMass dining website for students living both on and off campus.
Meal swipes are used at one of the four main dining commons on campus -- Berkshire, Hampshire, Worcester and Franklin. Once you swipe into a dining common, you have unlimited access to the food inside. You can get as many servings as you’d like. There are so many options inside each dining hall, that I could write an entire blog post just on that. A few things I love are the made-to-order sushi and the soft-serve ice cream!
Dining dollars are used at any on-campus retail dining location. These are located all over campus. A few of my favorite places are Roots (located in the Honors College -- they have the best quesadillas!) and Carney Cafe (located in the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub). They have delicious smoothies and grilled cheese with tomato soup.
Blue Wall Dining
Another great place to spend your dining dollars on campus that deserves a section of its own is Blue Wall in the campus center. There are several different eateries inside Blue Wall such as Green Fields, where you can grab a salad; Tamales, if you feel like having a burrito; Star Ginger, if you’re in the mood for Vietnamese or Thai food; and even a bakery with cupcakes and cakes.
There are also tons of places to sit and eat inside and outside around the Campus Center. You really can’t go wrong with a stop at Blue Wall for lunch during your busy day of classes and studying. They even serve Italian gelato! Yum!
Endless Late Night Options
When I talk to my friends that go to other colleges, one of the biggest things that surprises them is how late the dining options at UMass stay open. Berkshire and Worcestor offer Late Night Dining, and stay open until 12 a.m. every night! You will never have to worry about missing dinner because of a test or studying. This is one of my favorite things about dining at UMass -- it’s really great to almost always be able to go and grab food.
Chicken & Co. is also located in Southwest and is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends. They have lots of good late night options like chicken tenders and my favorite, tater tots.
Another really cool thing about UMass is we have two of our very own food trucks, BabyBerk and BabyBerk 2 (named after Berkshire dining commons). These two food trucks serve burgers, quesadillas and more, and are often parked on campus during the day and near residence halls late night. Dining dollars can be used at all of these places as well.
Staying Healthy and Sustainable
UMass Dining is partnered with lots of local farms and farmers where they get fresh food for all of their meals, with tons of organic options. This is why the food really does taste great.
The to-go containers are all compostable as well, to reduce waste. They have compost bins set up all around campus and labeled bins so you know exactly what gets thrown away, recycled, composted etc., which makes being green at UMass super easy. UMass also collects all leftover food from the dining halls for composting instead of waste, which is extremely beneficial.
They are also great with all dietary options, from allergies, intolerances, to vegan and vegetarian options, and more. Franklin Dining Commons also offers Certified Kosher Dining. UMass Dining is always there to help students. You can read more about all that UMass does in terms of nutrition and sustainability on the UMass Dining site.
The Best of the Best
As you can definitely tell, I really do believe that UMass Amherst deserves their #1 Best Campus Dining Award, and I could go on about it all day! These are just a few highlights on why I think UMass deserves their spot. With the endless options and accommodations for students, I really couldn’t ask for more and I’m sure you’ll be blown away by UMass Dining too.