Campus Food

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Campus Food


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3 College Freshman

Campus Food: The food at Amherst is a mixed bag. Valentine Hall, the only dining hall and real food option on campus, has its ups and downs; it certainly does not compare to the gourmet and world-renowned cuisine I grew up eating in California. That being said, I applaud the school's efforts in attempting to provide something for everyone at Val. I would recommend avoiding Val's more "ethnic" foods - there are some dishes that just should not be attempted by a college in rural western Massachusetts. Schwemm's Coffee House, a supplement to Val rather than an alternative dining option, has decent sandwiches and typical bistro snacks. One complaint I have heard from upperclassmen is that the school is very adamant about letting people off the meal plan. Unfortunately, one can only eat at Val for so long before he or she decides to spend money in town on food.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Food: Val gets a bad reputation but its okay. There are very few other options which adds to the dilemma though.

3 College Freshman

Campus Food: Cereal and pizza etc. is always available

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Food: You can always find something you like, it might just not be a lot.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Food: People like to complain but they're just spoiled. The food is great and better than what many schools serve.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Central dining has a huge impact on campus social life because it brings everybody together on a daily basis. The huge social advantage to central dining almost compensates for what many students believe are serious flaws in the current dining system. Hours should be at least one hour later for every meal. Nobody gets up at 7:30 a.m. to eat breakfast, and many people would rather see dinnertime continue past 7:30 in the evening. The food itself usually cannot shake the bland aftertaste that central dining halls have become infamous for. The variety of dishes, however, is impressive. At every lunch and dinner, there are different traditional cuisines, meat, salads, fruit, dairy, pizzas, and desserts. The ice-cream machines are probably a fulfillment of a childhood fantasy for everyone. Outside of the dining hall, the only on-campus option is Schwemm’s, and while this is also a popular hangout with wonderful ambiance, you can’t possibly be fully satisfied with what the menu has to offer. How many ham and grilled cheese sandwiches can a person have in a day? The many restaurants and takeout places provide only a partial alternative, because, like it or not, Amherst students must live with Valentine dining hall through bad times and good.

Friends who live in faraway dorms just have to IM each other to meet for dinner. And students don’t have to worry about not seeing the person they’ve lent their notes to because everybody basically meets up at Val. Still, if you asked students what aspect of college life at Amherst they would most like to see improved, campus dining will be probably be it.

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Average Meals/Week
Average Meal Plan Cost
$5580 per year
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Freshmen must get the full meal plan.
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Did You Know?
  • Creative students make their own thousand island dressing in the dining hall with the cunning use of ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, with a french fry used for the mixing. Add black pepper for seasoning.
  • Students can give their favorite recipes to the dining hall, and if the recipes are any good, these students can proudly see them incorporated in the menu. No copyright royalties are paid.
  • The Daily Jolt Web site,, posts Valentine dining hall menus each day.
  • The dining hall, upon request, will make you your very own birthday cake (when it's your birthday).
  • If you have a class during meal time and are unable to make it to the dining hall, they will make you a bagged lunch. Just be sure to put your order in ahead of time, and it will be prepared for you.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Lewis-Sebring Commons
Location: Valentine Hall
Food: Entrées, salads, soups
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Schwemm's Gourmet Coffee House & The Underground Bakery
Location: Keefe Campus Center
Food: Coffee, baked goods, salads, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-1 a.m.
Valentine Dining Hall
Location: College Street
Food: Grill, paninis, pizza, salads, stir-fry, waffles
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 30 responses

Very poor
  • Convenient hours
  • Ethnic/kosher options
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 11 responses

  • 50% Schwems
  • 25% Off-campus
  • 12% Schwemm's Gourmet Coffee House or "Schwemm's"
  • 6% Grab n go
  • 6% Valentine
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