The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus Guide: Find healthy eats, good atmosphere at the student unions

Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Customers wait in line at Panda Express in the Studnet Union Memorial Center. The student union food court includes a Papa Johns, Chick-fil-A, On Deck Deli, IQ Fresh, Einsteins Bros. Bagels, Pinkberry and Burger King.

Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.

From barbecue to sushi to a simple coffee and a scone, there are many food options for students on campus. The number of options may even seem overwhelming, but there are ways to narrow the search and find the right meal for you.

Todd Millay, assistant director of retail development and contract management of the student unions, said students can search a list of all the restaurants and food options offered by the student unions on their website. The Student Union Memorial Center features food court-style options such as Panda Express as well as full-service dining like Cactus Grill. The Park Student Union offerings include Core, for gluten-free food options, and La Petite Patisserie, for coffee and crepes. For coffee-lovers, there are multiple Starbucks on campus and Canyon Coffee in the student union.

Mohammad Almasri, a chemical engineering and biosciences junior, said he eats at the student union everyday. His go-to is Einstein Bros. Bagels, but he also likes Pinkberry.

“The diversity in food is my favorite part [of the student union],” Almasri said.

Dejanee Lambert, a veterinary sciences senior, said she likes to spend time in the student union during her long breaks between classes.

“I like the new changes they made to the seating and the lounge area,” Lambert said. “Last year I had an hour break between classes and I would just come straight to the union and hang out.”

Millay said there are many ways for students to make healthy choices. The student union website offers nutritional information for most of the menu items offered in the union eateries. This will help students watching their fat or sugar intake, or students who are counting calories. Millay said he uses the Smart Moves icons on menus to help him select what to eat, such as chicken tostadas from Sabor.

“I know the hard work’s been done for me,” Millay said. “I don’t have to go to the nutritional content, I know the item … is good for me.”

Smart Moves is a program designed by Campus Health Service that has been incrementally implemented over the last year. Food items are looked at for healthy features, such as being low-fat, low-sugar, locally sourced or containing sustainably grown ingredients. These items are identified by a red, three-petal flower icon. Students can find more information on the Smart Moves program and menu items on the Smart Moves website.

Food on campus can be expensive, so Millay said he encourages students to be savvy. There are often deals or sales on food offered by restaurants at the unions, like two-for-one coffees. Millay said students should connect with the student unions on Facebook to be informed of these deals and save money.

The student union also offers multiple meal plan options. The Wildcat Meal Plans are designed for students who eat most of their meals on campus. The plans range from $2,500 to $3,500 a year. Students who use these plans pay no state sales tax on their food purchases and receive a five percent discount.

For students who live off campus, there is the Commuter meal plan. Like the Wildcat Meal Plans, students using this plan do not pay state sales tax. However, the plan only requires a $250 down payment, and students add money to their plan whenever it is necessary.

Millay said that the student union is adding a third Starbucks location in the upcoming year, and will also be establishing a food truck in the fall. The food truck menu and location will vary based on student preferences, he said.

More to Discover
Activate Search