Although there are ample places to get food around FIT, we do have dining plans for anyone who wishes to have one. In fact, for anyone living in the Coed or Nagler residence halls, a dining plan is required (because those dorms do not have kitchens).
There are different types of meal plans offered. Each one includes a certain amount of declining balance money. This can be used for items that are not “meals” like candy bars, bottled drinks, Starbucks items, etc. Meals include an entree, drink, side salad, fruit or cookies. The different plans include varying amounts of declining balance dollars and meals per week. (ex: 14 meals a week with $110 declining balance for the semester) However, money can always be added to the declining balance if you run out. Declining balance money carries over from Fall to Spring semesters, but not when a new academic year starts.
There are several different places you can get food on your meal plan. First is the main dining hall in the Dubinsky Center. There is a grill station (you’ve got your standard hamburger selection, quesadillas, fish fillets, etc.), sandwich station, salad and soup bar, pizza, sushi and breakfast bar.
The dining hall itself is pretty basic, although FITSA and Student Life do hold different activities there throughout the week. Last week there was breakfast for dinner where scrambled eggs, hash browns, pancakes, etc. were given to students for free after 9pm. Also, a movie is screened every Wednesday night at 8 (save on those vastly over priced movie tickets and popcorn!)
We also have a Starbucks on campus where, as I mentioned earlier, you can use your declining balance, which is nice because if you come during a break in class you don’t have to bring your wallet down, just your id.
There is also the “FIT Express Cafe” in the lobby of the Feldman building. You can’t have food made for you here, but there are “grab and go” options like sandwiches, salads, snacks, candy, coffee, fruit, bottled drinks, etc. I use this more than the main dining hall now because I don’t live on campus or have a dining plan, and almost all my classes are in the Feldman building. It is extremely convenient.
If you are living off campus or in Alumni or Kaufman, a dining plan is not required. There are many grocery stores and food options along Seventh and Eighth Avenues, so no need to worry. I had a dining plan for my freshman year but did not get it after that. Personally, I used the declining balance a lot, but never used up all my meals each week. It really depends on each person and their preferred diet though.