Community Dining Plan FAQ

Why is Calvin encouraging upperclassmen to eat on campus?

Eating meals together is a healthy way to commune with one another--we all have to eat, we do so on a fairly regular schedule, and we tend to enjoy the informality of meals for conversations and fellowship. Encouraging opportunities for this to happen more often is the goal of the Community Dining Plan, particularly in our current context of bifurcation between those who live on campus (typically first and second year students) and those that live in KE or off-campus (typically upperclassmen). In fact, students often miss eating in the dining halls after their time in the residence halls is over. Many have come back over the last two years for a special meal every Thursday evening in the Commons (as part of the “Come Back to What is Common” program).

We hope the Community Dining plans will also encourage meals together within the context of academic programs, where faculty and students can continue relationships and conversations.

What are the options available to me, and what are the costs and benefits?

There are four Community Dining plans available, and they are chosen on a per semester basis. Choose the one that best fits your anticipated use patterns. 

I can eat more cheaply at home, can't I?

No matter where or when you eat, there's probably a way to do it less expensively. Sometimes for students, though not always, that means sacrificing nutrition. An occasional all-you-care-to-eat meal in the dining halls at Calvin would provide a wide and healthy variety of foods and beverages, while giving you the opportunity to eat together with friends, classmates, and faculty members. It would be a tangible way to stay connected to the Calvin community outside of the classroom, and a way to save time in purchasing and preparing food--time that could spent with others here at Calvin. And the prices have been set fairly, to encourage participation.

How will I be billed for choosing of these plans?

The corresponding charge will be added to your tuition and room and board account at the beginning of each semester. You can pay up-front or incrementally over the course of the semester. Students who discontinue during a semester will be refunded on a pro-rated weekly basis or a flat charge based on number of meals used (if above weekly expected average).

What if I want to add more meals during the semester?

If you run out of meals during the semester, you may add more in increments of 10 for $70. Please come to the Main Dining Office in the Commons building to add meals.

Can the dining halls handle the extra students?

Yes, they can. Except during the peak 20-30 minutes at lunch or dinner when there is a "rush," there is plenty of capacity in the dining halls for the anticipated increase that a Community Dining plan will create. In fact, the Uppercrust is open from 7:15 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday (until 5:00 p.m. on Friday), and there are at least 2 and a half hours of open time around other meals, between Commons and Knollcrest. Utilization patterns will be something we will learn more about as we pilot this idea next year.

I don't want to participate. What do I have to do to NOT be a part of this?

You don't have to do anything. If you're not interested, you don't have to participate. However, each year we have many students and parents asking for plans similar to these Community Dining plans, so we know there will interest out there.