Campus dining plans at Ohio State seemingly change every year, and this year is no exception. Though the new plan may be confusing to novice users, I am going to go through each component of our current plan and share with you what I think are the best possible ways to use it!
Weekly Traditional Visits
Ohio State has three “traditions” dining facilities on campus. On South Campus you have Kennedy Commons, on North Campus you have the brand new Scott Commons, and one on West Campus is Morrill Commons. These are buffet-style facilities where you can eat as much as you want for as long as you want!
You cannot take food out of these places. You must eat inside the building. This is where you can use your Traditional Visits that you are allotted each week! Your Traditions Visits reset every Sunday night at midnight.
Your Traditional Visits can also be used at the market places on campus! We have three market places: MarketPlace (South), Union Market (South), and Curl Market (North). At these market places you can trade a traditional visit for a “market meal exchange”, which gives you your choice of select sandwiches, salads, sides, and a fountain drink…a great option if you are looking for a quick grab-and-go meal. This will save you from having to do a “$5 Exchange”, which is not cost effective at any dining location with the word “Market” in its name.
Different meal plans are comprised of different amounts of Weekly Traditional Visits (5 to unlimited). If you find that you are not using them all in a particular week (before they reset), you have the ability to exchange one for a $5 purchase at any non-traditional dining location (like Mirror Lake Creamery).
Personally, I think Dining Dollars are super cool and I wish we had them when I still had a meal plan. Dining Dollars can be used at basically all of the dining facilities on campus. Places like Sloopy’s, Oxley’s, 12th Ave. Bread Company, accept Dining Dollars as a cost efficient way to pay for your food (you’ll receive a 10 percent discount for all food purchases made with Dining Dollars). The coolest part of Dining Dollars is that they stay on your BuckID card FOREVER…well, at least until you graduate. They keep rolling over! Unlike BuckID cash, however, Dining Dollars cannot be added. If you use all of them during the semester, you cannot get more until the next semester you have a meal plan.
BuckID cash is cash that is on your BuckID that you can use at off campus locations. You can use it like a gift card, but you can always add more money on to it. Most off campus locations accept BuckID cash like Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, and even the Kroger on High Street! Some clothing stores accept it also like Pitaya! (Ladies, go to Pitaya. It is great!)
Suggestions for maximizing your dining plan
Find the deals
In my first year on campus, Kennedy Commons would have chicken finger Fridays, and my friends and I–without fail–went to every chicken finger Friday. The Traditions facilities have great food! Take advantage of it!
I lived on South campus and never ate anywhere on North. The first time I ever went to Oxley’s was my sophomore year and found out how amazing it was! I no longer had a meal plan so I was never able to eat there again unless I paid for it myself.
Appreciate your meal plan!
Speaking as a senior who has had to buy her own groceries and make her own food, I can personally tell you that meal plans are the best. There is such a wide variety of food on campus and you can truly find healthy options–take advantage of all of it!