Students make use of Dining Dollars, dining options on campus


Iowa State Daily

Sara Pape, junior in child, adult and family services, swipes a student’s ISUCard for a Dining Dollars purchase on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Global Cafe. It is important to have the student ID ready to swipe.

Brian Keck

With 21 different places to eat on campus plus vending machines, students have many options around campus to get a meal or quick snack.

Starting at orientation, ISU Dining helps students begin to understand where they can use their meal plans, meal bundles and Dining Dollars. 

In addition to the dining centers, ISU Dining provides different services for students, including Cy’s Surprise, online access of Dining Dollars and the cafes located all across campus. 

“I think [Cy’s Surprise is] a good idea,” said Lauren Griffin, freshman in engineering. “In my dorm we don’t have kitchens and can’t make cookies or anything like that.”

This service allows students to transition into college, said Brittney Rutherford, marketing coordinator for ISU Dining.

“Students don’t have to cook,” Rutherford said. “They are here to be students and be successful at that.” 

ISU Dining has expanded its meal and food options this year by increasing places students can get food. ISU Dining has added a new Global Cafe to the Harl Commons in Curtiss Hall and now allows students to bundle a smoothie and one side at Froots.

ISU Dining has created more options of food such as the addition of gyros in the Memorial Union and hibachi to Sushi San’s menu. The MU Food Court has also made its menu more versatile by adding foods such as chicken cordon bleu and salmon.

Increasing food options is not the only way ISU Dining has helped out students, said Nancy Keller, director of ISU Dining.

“ISU Dining has not raised [its] prices in two years,” Keller said. 

With an increase of food price in the economy, ISU Dining has worked with students to offer them a variety of food without making it too expensive for students, Keller said. 

With all the different options ISU Dining offers, it is possible for students to find it difficult to know where they can use their Dining Dollars and meal bundles.

“I was confused at first, but that is because I didn’t know it,” said Elizabeth Gust, sophomore in sociology. “You get used to it as you go along.”

With five different meal plans, ISU Dining gives different options for students with all kinds of schedules.

The dining center offers online and social media sites alerting students how many meals and Dining Dollars they have left. 

Gust said she checks these once every two weeks. 

On average, students can spend $6.94 per meal in the Cyclone meal plan, $8.33 in the Cardinal plan, $11.11 in the Gold plan, $13.88 in the Silver plan and $16.66 in the Bronze plan per semester in order to not run out before the semester is over. These figures include Thanksgiving week.  

Fall semester Dining Dollars roll over to the spring semester.