College Dining Hall Reviews

By Kenzi Murphy

College dining halls are notorious for their questionable food and unhealthy options. However, every student has a different experience with their preferred place to eat on campus. Eating salads from bags and french fries every night might not be someone’s cup of tea, but for some, it’s better than what they would make for themselves in the dorms. 

For example, college students’ cooking abilities usually consist of microwavable mac and cheese and ramen, which aren’t very nutritious options. This causes college students to resort to their dining halls for a good meal. 

 However, different colleges have better dining halls than others. 

Chicken tenders and fries. A standard meal in any college dining hall. Photo by Jessica Tan on

UAlbany, Clarkson University and SUNY Oneonta all have their fair share of dining halls, but do they all satisfy their students’ needs and wants? 

At UAlbany, there are two main dining halls: Indigenous and State Quad. CJ Bates, a freshman at UAlbany, has some interesting comments to make about the two dining halls.

 “I would rate the dining halls here a 6 out of 10,” Bates said.  “The food is just not good most of the time; however, sometimes it’s OK. There was improvement from last semester, though.”

Another UAlbany student, Kaitlyn Bisig, has the same experience as Bates when it comes to the dining halls. 

“I’ll give UAlbany’s dining halls a 6,” Bisig said. “The food is pretty much the same everyday, and the employees can be extremely rude. But it’s reliable, the ice cream is fire and most of the time you can find something for every diet.”

Based on these opinions, it seems that UAlbany’s dining halls aren’t satisfying their students’ needs. But what about a dining hall at a private college?

The stereotypes that are associated with private school dining halls is that they’re usually a bit more enjoyable because you’re paying more money to attend the school, therefore having a nicer dining hall. However, that might not be the case. Clarkson University, a private college in Potsdam, New York, has one main dining hall: RoBro Dining Hall. 

Ivy Dong, a student at Clarkson University, has some mixed opinions about Clarkson dining. 

“I’d give it a 6, it’s always a hit or miss,” Dong said. “You can usually count on your chicken nuggets and french fries drowned in ketchup, but if you’re looking for a good healthy dinner that’s actually seasoned, you’re better off just ordering take out. The desserts are always good though.”

Lauren Covey, another student at Clarkson University, gave it an even lower rating than Dong did. 

“I would say it’s a 4,” Covey said. “There isn’t a lot of variety of food because we’re such a small campus, so if someone has a specific diet, it may be hard to find something to eat.”

It’s clear that even though Clarkson is a private school, the students seem to not be very fond of it. It doesn’t have enough variety, which would most likely cause students to stray away from eating there. 

Lastly, what do students think about the dining hall at one of the more popular SUNY schools, SUNY Oneonta? At SUNY Oneonta, there are two main dining halls: Wilsbach Dining Hall and Mills Dining Hall. According to students, their opinions are a little mixed. 

Emily Hoy, a student at SUNY Oneonta, has great things to say about Oneonta dining. 

“I’d give the food a 9 because there are a lot of options, everything tastes fresh and the dining hall staff is very inclusive to those with allergies and food restrictions. They are also extremely friendly,” Hoy said. 

Emily Rudolph, another student at SUNY Oneonta, has a majorly different opinion than Hoy. 

“I would give our dining halls a 5,” Rudolph said. “The reason for this is that they have great breakfast, but lunch and dinner the majority of the time is not good.”

It seems that SUNY Oneonta’s dining halls are a hit or miss depending on who you talk to and might not be a super reliable place to get lunch or dinner.

One thing these colleges had in common was social media accounts dedicated to posting photos of the food. Good or bad, true or fake, they’re compelling for the students who attend those schools and eat that food. 

Either way, dining halls just aren’t for everyone. Some people have great experiences with them and others don’t, which can explain why some of the ratings vary from each other. It really depends on your eating habits and food choice. In the end, is it worth eating at a place that doesn’t always satisfy your needs?

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