Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions but can't seem to find the answers? Please feel free to contact us at (970) 351-2652 or diningservices@unco.edu. We're always happy to help!

Here's how the questions are sectioned out:

Meal Plans

I live on campus in a residence hall. Why do I have to carry a meal plan?

Residence halls on campus do not have the adequate facilities for storage, preparation, or clean-up of meals, let alone well-balanced, nutritious meals. UNC Dining Services provides quality food and service in a professional manner to students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University of Northern Colorado. It is a goal of UNC Dining Services to support the mission of the University by promoting nutritional awareness throughout the campus community. UNC Dining Services is committed to providing pleasant dining experiences, meeting diverse culinary needs, and emphasizing value for all customers.

Having meals prepared for you allows you to focus on your education instead of trying to figure out what (or how!!) to cook for dinner. All freshman who are under the age of 20 or have completed less than 20 credit hours are required to have a full Traditional (19 meals per week) Meal Plan. Once you reach either of the two criteria mentioned above, you are eligible to reduce to one of the lower Traditional meal plans. (see next question)

I’m either eligible to reduce my meal plan or live off campus… which meal plan should I choose?

Your choice of meal plans is a very personal choice. You need to think about what your class schedule is like, along with work and social time. If you are only going to be on campus 3 days a week, a 50 Bear Plan may be optimal for your eating habits. If you want lunch and dinner every week day, the 120 or 160 Bear Plans would work very well. The one piece of information we always tell students is remember that meals are only valid for the semester the plan is purchased. Meals will not be carried forward, and there is no monetary refund for uneaten meals. We would rather you have to add meals on when you run out than have you lose meals because you purchased too many.

What are some of the benefits of having a meal plan?

Dining Services provides on campus dining for students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University of Northern Colorado. When it comes to meals, leave the shopping, cooking, and cleaning to us -- you will have more time for studying and social activities.

How much do the meal plans cost?

How do you maintain the cost of a meal plan?

Take what you want, eat what you take. Taking one portion at a time helps you manage the amount of food you eat. You're more than welcome to go back for seconds as often as you wish, but we ask you to only take one entree at a time. Food waste adds to the cost of the meal plan.

All you care to eat- while you are in the dining rooms. Taking food out of the dining rooms for later meals or snacks is not part of the meal plan.

Leave it here- the dishes, silverware, and glassware are provided for your use while you are in the dining rooms. Taking these items is theft and prevents us from providing quality service to you. Replacement of these items adds many dollars to the cost of the meal plan.

Can I use one of my meals to bring in a friend?

The Traditional Meal Plans are for your use only. Guests and visitors are welcome to pay cash prices at the door. Bear Plans are made for flexibility, so use as many swipes as you want to at a time... they're yours to use throughout the semester. (see next question for prices)

How much does a meal cost for guests and visitors?

When does a new week start with my meal swipes?

When you're at the dining room, you may notice that your meals seem to count down to zero. Don't worry, this is normal!! For Traditional Meal Plan purposes, the new week starts Tuesday morning. Your meals will reset Monday night when the nightly process runs. Meals not consumed each week are forfeited.

Where/when/how can I change my meal plan? Can I switch meal plans? Can I change my meal plan from the full Traditional (19 meals per week) Meal Plan?

Students having completed 20 credit hours or who are age 20 and older living in any residence hall may re-contract for a lesser Traditional Meal Plan. You can choose from either the 14 or 15 meals per week meal plans. Re-contracting must be done by the drop deadline, the 10th day of class. Lawrenson Hall is not a meal-mandatory residence hall for non-freshmen students, and eligible students may choose to purchase any of our Traditional Meal Plans or Bear Plans. Contact the Dining Services Office at (970) 351-2652 for more information on how to make changes.

Do Bear Plans or Dining Dollars carry over to next semester?

All meal plans (Traditional Meal Plans, Bear Plans, and Dining Dollars) are only valid for the semester the plan is purchased. Meals will not be carried forward, and there is no monetary refund for uneaten meals. We would rather you have to add meals/Dining Dollars when you run out than have you lose meals/Dining Dollars because you purchased too many.

What if I...

What if I have classes during the scheduled meal hours? Are sack lunches or dinners available at the dining room?

We realize that you will more than likely have some time conflicts with the dining room hours of operation. So, if you are in a hurry, just stop by and get a "Gourmet to Go" instead of sitting down and eating in the dining room. These "sack lunches" can be picked up in either Tobey-Kendel Dining Room or Holmes Dining Hall. You can also make special arrangements to pick up a meal at your nearest dining room. Please contact the dining room manager to make those arrangements. Gourmet to Go locations are open Monday through Friday during dining room hours. What happens if the dining rooms is serving your FAVORITE meal, and you don't have time to sit down and eat?? Ask the checker for a Bear On The Run container, and you can take your meal to go! We understand that sometimes you just want what's in the dining room. Now it's easy to do with a Bear On The Run.

What if I don't have time to come to the Dining Services Office to sign a meal contract? Can I sign up on-line? Can my parents sign me up instead? Can I sign up over the phone?

We realize you have busy schedules... but there are only 2 ways to sign up for a meal plan: in person or on-line at www.unco.edu/dining. The meal contract is a legal and binding document, so no one but the student (aka the person who is going to be using the meal plan) can actually sign the contract. In other words, parents are more than welcome to call and get information for their student, but the student is actually the one who needs to sign the contract.

We are very excited about having our on-line contract available. Students can access the on-line contract at the Dining Services Web Site. We are not able to allow students to sign up for meal plans over the phone because we must verify the identity of the student purchasing the meal plan. To accommodate a variety of student schedules, meal contracts can be purchased in the Dining Services Office in Tobey-Kendel Hall or the UNC Card Office in the University Center. Contact the Dining Services Office at (970) 351-2652 for more information.

How Do I...

How do I get into the dining rooms? Do I need tickets? Do I get a special card that gives me access to just one dining room?

Your UNC Card is your access into the dining rooms!! As long as you have a UNC Card (and a meal plan!), you can get into the dining rooms. Students must present a machine-readable UNC Card to gain access.

Your UNC Card serves as your meal access card to our dining locations. Treat it like cash or other credit cards you own. It is used each semester you are enrolled and is not transferable, negotiable, or salable to others.

What do I do if...

What do I do if my UNC Card is lost, stolen, or destroyed?

If your UNC Card is lost or stolen, you need to go to the UNC Card Office immediately to avoid financial liability. The card replacement fee is currently $15, subject to change.

The checkstands at the dining rooms can tell if you have a meal plan or not, so it is imperative you bring your ID card. If you don't have your ID card on hand, you will be required to show a picture ID to prove who you are. If you don't have a picture ID, you will not be allowed into the dining room. Exceptions can be made by contacting the Dining Services Office at (970) 351-2652 for more information. For more information regarding your UNC Card, please visit the UC Card Office web site.

What do I do if I've forgotten my UNC Card, or if it doesn't work?

For security reasons, our policy is to not allow students in without their UNC Card. We understand circumstances will come up when you don't have your ID Card on hand, so you have 3 opportunities to “forget” your UNC Card and still be allowed into the dining room. After you've used up your 3 chances, you will not be allowed into the dining rooms without your UNC Card. If your card is not working, the staff at the UC Card Office can assist you Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What do I do if am sick or unable to eat in the dining room? Are sick trays made available?

We all feel "under the weather" from time to time, so if you are unable to join us in the dining room, we have a solution for you. What you will need to do is obtain a "meal take-out authorization" form from your R.A., the hall front desk, on-line at the Dining Services Forms Page, or the dining room checkstand. If you are unable to pick up the form in person (or can't download it off the web), someone else (your roommate, friend, or R.A.) can get the form for you and bring it back for you to fill out. Take the completed form to the dining room checker. If you are unable to pick the meal up on your own, a representative may do so only with your UNC Card and the form with your signature on it. When the form has been approved, they can pick the meal up for you. You have a choice of a Gourmet To Go or a sick tray... either way, the checker will assist you. Please contact the dining room manager if you have any questions.

What do I do if I don't have time to eat in the dining room today?

Gourmet To Go provides "grab and go" soup, sandwiches, salads, chips, fruit, cookies, and beverages. You may pick up what you want and take it with you. Sack lunches are available on class days in Tobey-Kendel Dining Room and Holmes Dining Hall.

I have special dietary needs or food allergies. What can Dining Services do for me?

Dining Services makes every effort to accommodate a diverse array of dietary needs. Matthew Doyle, our Registered Dietitian, is available to answer any questions you might have about how we can help with your specific dietary considerations. Dining Services is committed to providing students with a variety of healthy and nutritious meal options. However, as over 6,000 students are served per day, individual meal requests can be considered only with documentation from a physician. If you have special dietary needs that are not being met, we urge you to contact our Registered Dietitian at (970) 351-2652 or Matthew.Doyle@unco.edu. Contact the Dining Services Office at (970) 351-2652 for more information. We also have an award-winning Executive Chef on staff. Chef Aran Essig is also available for any questions or concerns you may have.

Miscellaneous

Am I assigned to eat in one dining room?

Students are welcome to enjoy meals at the University Center, Tobey-Kendel Dining Room, or Holmes Dining Hall. Each dining room has a distinct atmosphere. Feel free to choose to eat close to your classes, residence, or grab a sack lunch from Tobey-Kendel Dining Room or Holmes Dining Hall. Traditional dining rooms are located in the following halls: Tobey-Kendel and Holmes. Anyone can eat in any dining room, regardless of where they live.

Can I still purchase a Meal Plan if I live off-campus?

Absolutely! We have Traditional Meal Plans AND Bear Plans for students living off-campus or in Lawrenson Hall (those who are eligible). Bear Plans come in packages of 50, 80, 120, and 160 meals per semester. These pans allow you maximum flexibility. You pay for a bulk amount of meals and can use them any time during the semester. An added option is that you can use more than one meal within a meal time, so you can treat your friends to a meal with your Bear Plan. Meals are ONLY valid for the semester the plan is purchased. Meals will not be carried forward, nor are there any monetary refunds for uneaten meals. Additional packages can be purchased if you run out. Contact the Dining Services Office at (970) 351-2652 for more information or Bear Plan information.

How is the quality of food here at UNC?

The food here is great!! If repeat business is any indication, our food is more than great! We have more and more students opting to purchase Bear Plans who don't live on campus. We have an award-winning Executive Chef on staff who plans fresh and interesting menus to keep students, faculty, staff, and guests impressed.

For example, many of the baked goods are prepared fresh daily in each location. There is a special focus on Colorado grown or manufactured foods. We have several professional chefs and cooks here on staff, many of whom have been trained by the Culinary Institute of America. Our management team is nationally recognized and award-winning as well. Staff is trained in sanitation and safe food handling skills. We have found our customers enjoy the "food to order" and display cooking concepts, so that's what we're giving them.

Do you use brand name foods?

Dining Services is committed to providing students with a variety of healthy and nutritious meal options. We understand that serving brand name foods is very important. Click here to see the list of brand name foods we serve here at UNC.

What are the employment opportunities with Dining Services?

You will work for an employer who offers flexible working hours, good pay, convenient locations, and a fun work environment. UNC Dining Services is the largest single employer of students on the UNC campus. Click here to see more information about job opportunities within Dining Services.

Are UNC dining facilities a nice place to socialize and enjoy a meal?

ABSOLUTELY!! The dining rooms here at UNC are a great place to meet and socialize with friends, meet with professors, and take time out of a busy day to enjoy a great meal.

What are your hours of operation?

Each of our dining rooms has a unique atmosphere and personality. Along with that, some hours of operation vary.