Arts & Events

Getting The Most for your Dining Bucks

One of the more exciting perks of having an on-campus student job with Dining and Conference Services is the ability to spend staff points each day you work, depending on how many hours are clocked in that day.

In general, most students receive either two or four dining dollars per shift worked (as long as their shifts exceed two hours in a given day). For many off-campus students without a meal plan, this perk could mean a free meal, while those with meal plans have more wiggle room to splurge without running out of points.

Although there is a variety of meal and snack options on which students spend staff points, here are some tips to keep in mind in order to get the best value when you spend your points in the S.U.B., Diversions, The Cellar or Oppenheimer Café.

If you’re aiming to stay on the healthier side for your midday snacking, head to the salad bar in the SUB, or the grab-and-go section at any of the cafés and pick up a hard boiled egg or two, some cheese and fruit or carrots and hummus. The key to getting the most bang for your buck in terms of snack satisfaction is to keep in mind the value of protein for keeping hunger at bay.

These options are perfect for grabbing on the way to class and eating quickly. Depending on what combination of foods you get, you could spend as little as .45 dining dollars, giving you extra wiggle room in case you want more later on.

A similar trick can be applied to breakfast. Oatmeal tends to be the cheapest and most filling option, often leaving extra room in your budget for snacks later in the day, or even lunch if you have $4 in staff points.

Bagels and cream cheese are a great grab-and-go option from Oppenheimer or the S.U.B. if you’re in a hurry but need something a little more substantial. Boiled eggs are also a great option here, and can be paired easily with some fruit and yogurt from the grab-and-go section or the salad bar.

As far as lunch and dinner are concerned, for most of the stations in the S.U.B. as well as The Cellar, the less complicated the order, the more easily you will be able to afford it with your staff points. In general, adding extras such as meat and cheese at the Deli, the Grill or the Latin American stations runs the risk of putting you over your staff point budget.

One way of avoiding this predicament is to order all the goodies you want on a half sandwich instead of a full one, or getting a plain quesadilla in the Cellar. As a rule of thumb, vegetarian options tend to be the cheaper route in terms of burritos, sandwiches or grab-and-go wraps.

Finally, if you find yourself in need of some indulgence with your staff point budget, you could always get a pastry at Diversions or Oppenheimer, a donut or some froyo at the S.U.B. or your favorite ice cream at The Cellar.

Base your decisions on your levels of hunger, amount of points available to you and time available, and keep in mind that you can purchase pretty much anything from the grab-and-go section to take home for later.