Campus Food

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Campus Food


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4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Food: There is one main dining hall, Sharples. There are always choices, plus a big and great salad bar, and wok/ pancake stations. There are bigger rooms and smaller rooms with more privacy, in general it is a fun social scene. There are other places on campus you can use points to buy meals/ coffee/ whatever, but sharples is where most people get most of the food.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Food: It really depended on my mood, but definitely a hit or miss.

1 College Junior

Campus Food: The main reason I hate the meal plan is because you have to pay the same amount regardless of how many meals you get, which is a complete rip off. The food is mediocre at best.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Food: If you have to pay for the meal plan, then the quality of the food is iffy in comparison to the price. There are a ton of carbs in comparison to (tasty) protein sources or fat sources if you plan to pursue a diet like Keto/Atkins or bodybuilding. However, if you are a vegetarian, there is an entire section dedicated to it.

3 people found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Campus Food: sub-par to say the least.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

View student contributors

There is only one real dining hall on campus: Sharples. The problem with Sharples is that the food there is mediocre, or at least that’s what the general student population says. Students can also use their meal plan at Essie Mae’s Snack Bar, but sandwiches and curly fries can get really old really quick. So, for hungry Swatties, Sharples is the most frequent choice. There is an enormous salad bar, a vegetarian bar, a grill, a hot dinner bar, a specialty bar, and a sandwich bar. The dining services employees make a real effort to cater to student’s wishes. There is a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options for the plant-eaters, as well as heaping portions of beef for carnivores.

There are three meal plans options at Swarthmore. The first is the 20 Meal Plan, which lets students get breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Sharples Monday through Saturday and two meals on Sundays. There are no meal points—credits on your meal card that serve as cash at the coffee bars and Essie Mae's—with this plan. There are also the 17- or 14-meal plans, who do give students credit on their meal cards. First-semester freshmen get the 17-meal plan as their default, but they can change it prior to coming to Swat. It’s suggested to use the first semester to observe your eating habits to determine the right plan for you for following semesters. Swarthmore also caters well to caffeine-dependent students. The College has three coffee bars, and with around 1,400 students, that’s a coffee bar for about every 450 students, which is not too shabby. The coffee and selection at the Kohlberg and Science Center coffee bars are excellent. Even though the prices can be steep in the coffee bars, you can use your meal points as cash. Take that, Starbucks!

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Average Meals/Week
Average Meal Plan Cost
$6404 per year
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
Sharples (there's only one!)
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
Essie Mae's Snack Bar
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • French toast
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Pancakes
  • The Phoenix (egg and cheese sandwich)
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Asian bar
  • Carribean bar
  • Indian bar
  • Pasta bar
  • Potato bar
  • Wing bar
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Grilled chicken wrap
  • Monster energy drink
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Special Options
There are two student-run restaurants. Paces is in Tarble Hall and has a menu that changes weekly, and QUB, located in the Kitao Gallery, serves Asian fare.
Did You Know?
  • The whole College has been asked to hold budgets at steady levels, but Dining Services is allowed to increase its budget with inflation.
  • Wanna party it up? Swarthmore's Dining Services can help by providing birthday cakes for students, food for barbecues, or bagged lunches for road trips.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Essie Mae's Snack Bar
Location: Tarble Social Center
Food: Breakfast, grill items, pizza, salad bar, sandwiches, wraps
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 8 a.m.-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12 a.m., Thursday-Friday 8 a.m.-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Kohlberg Coffee Bar
Location: Kohlberg Hall
Food: Breakfast sandwiches, coffee, salads, sandwiches, snacks, soup
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m.-10 p.m.
Science Center Coffee Bar
Location: Science Center
Food: Coffee, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sushi
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sharples Dining Hall
Location: Sharples
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-7:15 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 38 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 13 responses

  • 32% Sharples
  • 25% Essie Mae's
  • 14% Coffee bars are nice but not really for actual mea
  • 11% Kohlberg's catered Indian food
  • 7% Desserts
  • 7% Science Center's catered Chinese food
  • 4% Essie Mae's Cookies
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