Everything about food on campus

It’s not home-cooked—unless the campus is your home

Grad student Devrin Lee gets a bite at the Overlook.

Grad student Devrin Lee gets a bite at the Overlook.

Photo By David Robert

What’s better than driving home every weekend to get a home-cooked meal? Learning that on the University of Nevada, Reno campus you can get up to $700 extra with your meal plan and get a free meal about once a week.

Living on campus as a freshman requires a meal plan. You have four choices for the Downunder Café, the main dining area located in Argenta Hall. These choices consist of Platinum, for 21 meals a week; Gold, for 11 meals a week; Silver, for nine meals a week; and Bronze, for seven meals a week.

Seven meals a week doesn’t seem feasible, but what freshmen aren’t told is the lower your meal plans, the more Advantage Cash you get. Advantage Cash is purchased credits applied to meal cards that can be used toward food bought on campus. So you’re thinking, ‘Who cares, how great can Advantage Cash be?’ Well when you’re eating the same food every day for a whole year, it’s a savior!

Although the Downunder Café seems like it offers enough variety to last a year, it eventually gets old. Good thing UNR offers four other dining locations on campus—Los Trojes Mexican Express, Northside Cafe, the Overlook and the Wolf Perk Cafe—that accept Advantage Cash.

These four locations offer everything from sandwiches, wraps, pastries, burgers, Chinese, pizza, Mexican, breakfast, smoothies, sushi and much more. Dominos is also a sponsor of Advantage Cash, so you can have a fresh pizza delivered to your dorm room with little more effort than the swipe of your student ID.

“Advantage Cash was great because you can go down to the DC store at night and get a snack, and I found myself using my Advantage Cash way more than my swipes,” says sophomore Tina Hordzwick. “The Downunder Café just isn’t always the most convenient place to eat, but with Advantage Cash, you have a lot more options.”

While Advantage Cash saves you from eating in the Downunder Café every day, what saves you from spending all your Advantage Cash too quickly? Free food. There is free food around campus weekly. The Jot Travis Student Union routinely hosts free barbecues on the JTSU lawn. The aroma of barbecue is your cue to get in line and get your share. The clubs around campus put on free-food events as well. You might have to sign up to receive a newsletter, but hey, it’s free food.

“I’d always be walking out of the library between classes and smell the barbecue, and I’d run over there to get in line,” says Kaitlyn Cobb, 20. “It was my favorite time of the day. It’s just so convenient when you’re on campus all day to be able to grab a quick, free lunch and be on your way.”

When you’re sitting in class and realize you have gotten a little too caught up in the college life, and you should take advantage of the extra credit the teacher’s offering, don’t get thrown by the fact that you have to go watch some weird foreign film. Much of the time, these events are catered, and you’re more than likely to come out of it with a free meal and some extra-credit points.

Another way to get free grub is to join a club. Clubs are known for their weekly catered meetings.

Floor events in the dorms might sound lame when your resident assistant is trying to convince you to attend; however, more than not, they provide you with a good late-night snack.

The time of year you find yourself with the least time to eat is during finals. This is when the school pulls through, offering 24-hour catered study hall in the JTSU. So stick to a small meal plan, and keep your senses honed. There’s always free food to be eaten; you just have to follow your nose.