The average college meal plan in the United States has an average meal price of $7 to $11 that’s no small chunk of change considering other expenses like room and board or those heavily inflated textbooks. As a current university student or pupil to be, we pride you on finding us here for a little investigation into exactly what your hard-earned cash, scholarships and government loans are getting you at Temple University. Academically, the numbers don’t lie a whopping 37,000 undergraduates enrolled in over 400 programs proves that the school means business when it comes to molding minds. How about the food, though? Isn’t that pizza lunch just as rewarding as the afternoon lecture with a favorite professor? Maybe not.
One scan through Temple dining options, and you’ll quickly come to realize that many of the choices are the same cookie cutter meals that made you want to pack in high school we’re talking the fried and grilled staples admittedly with several rare outliers like sushi that are so often associated with cafeterias. Unlike other schools, Temple’s dining resources are hardly fleshed out with in depth information for students. There is, of course, an occasional reference to local seasonal ingredients. Beyond this, the philosophy behind their meals isn’t as exciting, helpful or transparent as some of the other institutions that you’ll discover on this site. There is one redeeming quality, and it comes in the form of an app called MyFitnessPal that the uses to let hungry scholars better track what they’re consuming every day. Be reminded that its accuracy or usefulness could be another story.
What do actual Owls think about all this? The ones who sounded off on colleges.niche seem to agree that they’re not overly thrilled with the overpriced items and lack of variety. Other red flags include staff members that can sometimes be rude, cases of food poisoning at buffet style halls and low food quantities during peak meal times. Most agree that it took less than a month for them to get sick of their experiences at the dining facilities. A few students even offered suggestions for improvement, like staffing customer facing roles with more cheery employees and preparing more meals from scratch with non-frozen ingredients. Sound a little far fetched for a college feeding 37,000 students? Think again, because we’ve written about many schools and there are ones out there big and small who make their dining plans an undeniable priority.
If you’re interested in Temple University, check out our article on Campus Safety at TU.
If you’re thinking it can’t all be bad, you’d be right! The campus food trucks are beloved by a majority of students, dishing up ethnic cuisine and domestic favorites. There’s also a certain convenience factor with food trucks that suits the modern student’s on the go lifestyle. Simply walk up, order and you’re enjoying something tasty on the way to your next class. Strategic locations around Temple’s grounds rid any doubts you might have about accessibility. Nonetheless, you have to consider that these food trucks don’t accept student meal plan cards as a form of payment only cash and credit cards here folks.
It would be expensive and impractical to rely solely on them for every meal. Sticking out the first two years on a less than perfect meal plan is possibly the most economical and simple solution. That leaves you with plenty of food trucks and other off campus restaurants to look forward to as an upperclassmen. If food is really a concern for you, then Temple probably isn’t the place of divine culinary perfection you were hoping for.
Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 e-commerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.