Students’ opinions of the food on campus really depend on what they are used to. Some people are impressed by the quality and variety of food, while others get sick of the dining options extremely quickly. For the most part, students acknowledge both positive and negative aspects of the dining program. At Penn, students on a meal plan have three ways to pay for food. They can use a specific number of allotted meals per week or semester at the Dining Halls, Dining Dollars which can be continuously replenished at most retail locations around campus, and PennCash, which works somewhat like a debit card.
Whether you like the food or not, there is certainly enough to eat, facilitated by multiple all-you-care-to-eat locations. In addition, there is something to eat at all hours. Wawa is a popular place to grab a made-to-order sandwich. Freshmen are required to purchase a meal plan, but as long as you purchase the smallest plan available and you make an effort to find places with food that you like, your freshman dining experience should be more than bearable. When it comes to people with special diets, the choices become much slimmer. Dining administration assures students that there are vegan and vegetarian options at every dining location, but the selection usually gives these students little or no options. However, improvements seem to be just beyond the horizon as the school adjusts to alleviate low dining participation rates after students’ freshman year.