Column: Do you think you're too good to eat at the Unions? Do ya, punk?

If the only reason you don’t have a meal plan is because you don’t want to be forced to eat the Arizona Student Unions’ food every day, reevaluate your arrogant attitude toward “student union food.” Meal plans are so beneficial in that they ensure you’re taking care of yourself by eating every day. As college students, every dollar counts, and we can’t afford to be picky about what we eat.

When you think of union food you think of Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express, Burger King, On Deck Deli and Papa John’s. These are the most central and popular options of the Student Union Memorial Center, but if those don’t feed your fancy, there are other options on the higher end of dining. For example, Cactus Grill.

Cactus Grill is such a gem because of the abundance of food options in one place. Another example is the Cellar Bistro. The food at the Cellar is mouthwateringly delicious and absolutely worth the price.

But, did ya’ll forget that there are more food options that exist outside the SUMC? I bet the thought of student union food excludes the options offered by the Park Student Union and the Student Recreation Center.

Sara Rohde, assistant director of the Arizona Student Unions, is also surprised about the about the stigma toward “student union food.”

“There are 40-plus places all over campus — serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks—that are covered by the meal plan, many are not at SUMC,” she said. “Starbucks at the Main Library? Highland Market? Fuel at the Rec Center? Slot Canyon Café in the new ENR2 building? The DEN by Denny’s at PSU? Those are all the Unions. The Cellar is open until 1 a.m. seven days a week with burgers and shakes for late night. Menus and specials change frequently, too. Lots more options, plus 350-plus vending machines, too.”

I bet all those food options accepted by the meal plan were forgotten, too.

Having a meal plan does not limit what you can eat, and it also saves precious money that adds up throughout the semester. Setting aside and dedicating a certain amount of money just for food to eat on campus is a smart decision. A meal plan ensures that you don’t have to worry about if you have enough money to eat that day — and trust me, eating a meal on campus is a much healthier option than skipping out on eating because you don’t like the food options.

Saving money by putting aside money is such an extra bonus. No matter what meal plan you choose for yourself, you will always save money in one or more ways. For instance, tax is waived at the student unions when you pay with a CatCard. That money you save adds up and with that money, you could earn yourself an additional 5-10 meals.

So unless you’re atrociously bad at budgeting or think you’re too good to eat the food on campus, I hope you enjoy eating off campus and spending your real, hard-earned money on something other than what you could be saving up for.


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