As a current student at the University of West Florida, I frequently eat at the dining options that are available on campus. In my first year, I had the displeasure of having a meal plan. Where I was forced to eat 12 meals a week at the Nautilus Market, an all you can eat option. Also, I had to spend $300 at another provider on campus. It was necessary and expensive. I propose that the University of West Florida provide students with better dining options on campus.

Currently, there are 11 places to grab a bite to eat while on campus. However, four of them are just takeaway coffees, so I wouldn’t consider them as viable options. These cafes are good at their locations. They are in specific buildings such as the commercial building and the library. These are good options if you are in a hurry.

Where UWF Dining really needs help is in the commons. We have the Nautilus Market, an option that is primarily for freshmen and students with meal plans. They give many options, however, they are not good. The food literally made me sick multiple times. Also, the only healthy/vegan/vegetarian options are the salads. I personally think the salad tastes like it’s been doused with preservatives. In addition, in the commons there is a Quiznos; It’s decent if you like Quiznos. The chick-n-grill shouldn’t even be considered a restaurant, because it has no flavor. It’s a chipotle that wants to be, and can’t. The Argo Galley is good. They have beer and wine. Their food is basic bar food but expensive.

I did some research on other schools’ dining options and what I found was disappointing. The University of Florida has chain options throughout its campus. They have Panda Express, Einstein Bagels, and Moe’s Southwest Grill; FSU has even more! It could be argued that these are significantly larger schools and are Division 1 in athletics. However, even other D2 schools in Florida like Nova SouthEastern, Barry, Flagler, and the University of North Florida have better dining options than UWF. Nova has a Subway, an Au Bon Pain, and an Eisenstein Bagels. UNF has a Jamba Juice, a super popular fast food chicken restaurant, and a Pita Pit. Even just bringing a Pita Pit could make a world of difference. The local Pita Pit is always busy at lunchtime, and this could attract more students to stay and eat on campus.

The University of West Florida needs to step up when it comes to their dining options. Food is a necessity and if students are not happy, that could be a determining factor for which school they choose to go to.

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