Many students would testify that campus dining partly jeopardizes their freshman experience at UT Dallas. Required to purchase a meal plan and prohibited from cooking in their suites, freshmen have to walk five to 10 minutes to the student union building—the only dining place on campus—each time they want to fill their stomach. If students time these walks wrong, arriving at the UTD Dining Hall before 11 a.m., after 2 p.m., or any time on the weekends, they will often find nothing to eat except for french fries and burgers. To make it worse, campus dining is rather expensive—averaging $6 to $9 per meal—without offering good variety or high quality. The food itself isn’t too bad, and there are healthy options for students to choose from, but they get tiring quickly. The last insult usually comes from the rare occasions when the Dining Hall actually cooks good food simply to oversell itself to the University visitors and guests. Students feel cheated and shed tears of sadness for those naïve future students who are happy to purchase the highest meal plan when they enroll.
To be fair, the Dining Hall isn’t all bad. It’s close to all campus buildings—except for the residential ones—and its all-you-can-eat policy somewhat compensates for the mediocre quality. When you get past freshman year, you can purchase the one-meal-a-day plan, and enjoy the delicious self-made dinner and breakfast. The Pub and Comet Café, while offering no novelty, give you an escape from Dining Hall food, and also provide good hangout places for you and your friends. However, these places are not reliable, because they close early on weekdays and most of the weekends, and they heavily overcharge for their food.