When thinking of Florida, some people envision one of its most flavorful exports those juicy oranges. Wouldn’t it be nice if home cooked meals grew on trees, too? The students at Florida State University might think so. A majority of them are divided on the school’s culinary services they’re not exactly appetizing, but they could also be much worse. Tasty? That’s debatable. Healthy? Absolutely not. Convenient? Sometimes. The school’s 1,391 acre campus in Tallahassee has approximately 32,000 undergraduates. That’s a lot of Seminoles to feed! If this school is a serious contender on your college list, read on to discover why its food doesn’t quite match the top-notch academics that have made it a research powerhouse since 1851.
The school’s official website says that it operates or is affiliated with over 25 dining locations. That includes dining halls, coffee shops, convenience stores you get the gist. Fresh and Suwannee are the two central locations (a.k.a. the ones you need to know). They boast a modern design and lively atmosphere, but we all know that it’s the food that matters. Not only do students think that the meal plans are overpriced and hard to get full use out of, but the quality just isn’t there.
While it’s true that these locations offer a wide “variety” of choices, they’re still limited to the same old cafeteria food; we’re talking about greasy hamburgers, pizza, fries and so on. Are you vegan? Well you’re pretty much out of luck, because you’ll most likely be living off of a cereal and salad bar. The hours have been criticized for not accommodating late evening eating a complaint we hear at many schools but one thing these halls have going for them is that they are easy to get to.
There are some newer dorms that give Seminoles access to a kitchen. Some students lucky enough to be living in that situation recommend that you bypass the meal plan all together in favor of cooking for yourself. If you’re not much of a wizard in the kitchen, you do have other options. We didn’t say that those options were healthy, as fast food seems to reign supreme on this campus. We’re talking the likes of Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, Starbucks, and a lot more. At first all of his unhealthy yet delicious food can seem amazing, but that feeling quickly fades. You’ll feel tired, unsatisfied and wrought with stomach pains in no time. This kind of sluggishness just doesn’t equal collegiate success.
Since Florida State University like many schools uses a third party culinary company, they brag about the same sustainability efforts as the next school. That’s not to say that there’s no merit in things like recycling or conserving water. These are incredibly beneficial! The gripe is more or less that the school doesn’t have, or maybe even want, much of a hand in the dining decisions. Universities with the best ratings have a few things in common: they hire tremendous talents in the kitchen, source fresh ingredients, employ a revolving menu, accommodate allergies and special diets, listen to feedback, etc. Never forget that you’re a customer at a college. Whether through loans or hard earned cash and scholarships, you’re paying for your experience. The customer service at Florida State University just isn’t up to par. You’ll eat the same frozen food again and again with little influence to change it.
A former student told us what they wish they knew about Florida State University before choosing to attend. Spoiler: there’s a mention of food in there.
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.