Frequently Asked Questions

Fall 2021 - 9/3/2021

The following FAQs are as of September 3, 2021.

These FAQs are intended to address questions we anticipate regarding campus dining for the fall 2021 semester. However, the information provided in these FAQs is subject to change depending on legal requirements issued by federal, state, and local governments, as well as guidance issued by public health experts and relevant University policies. Please visit the University's COVID website for regularly updated information on public health guidance and expectations for the campus community.

Dining halls

Which dining halls will be open during the fall 2021 term?

All undergraduate dining halls, the Center for Jewish Life, and the Graduate College will be open for the 2021-22 academic year.

When will the dining halls open?

Dining halls will open to all first years and first-year meal plans will be activated on August 21, 2021. Dining halls will open to all returning students and their meal plans will be activated on August 28, 2021.

What will the operational hours for the dining halls be?

Please visit our hours of operations page.

Will there be a way to determine if a dining hall is crowded before walking there?

Sensors have been installed at entryways and exits of open dining halls to provide anonymous, real-time counts of people present in the dining halls. To view real-time occupancy in all of our dining halls visit density.princeton.edu.

Who is the Campus Dining point-of-contact for each dining hall?

Staff information for our dining halls are listed for each location at dining.princeton.edu/where-eat. You may also contact us through our department email at dining@princeton.edu.

What will dining look like during first-year orientation?

Dining halls will resume a self-serve style of service for first-year’s arrival on August 21, 2021. This style will continue into the fall semester.

Will there be grab-and-go meals?

At this time, we are planning for all meals to be enjoyed in the dining halls. If you would like to have your meal outside on the dining hall/college patios, you can leave your TigerCard with the card checker and pick it up when you return your plate and silverware. For your comfort, if you would prefer to have your meal in your dorm, we have take-out containers available. These are limited to one per meal.

In addition to these options, our Lunch to Go program will begin on September 1, 2021.

We have worked closely with Environmental Health and Safety to ensure the dining halls are as safe as possible for both guests and our team. Options in the dining halls are subject to change in accordance with state and local mandates and guidance in effect at the time.

How will the mask mandate affect dining halls?

Students may remove their masks while eating or drinking in the dining halls.

Meal plans

Will I be required to purchase a meal plan?

First-year and sophomore students are automatically signed up for the Unlimited Meal Plan for Fall and Spring semesters.

Juniors and seniors living in residential college housing are required to select a meal plan.

Juniors and seniors not living in residential college housing have the option to purchase a meal plan if they wish.

Graduate students living in the Graduate College are required to select a meal plan.

Graduate students living in apartments have the option to purchase a meal plan if they wish.

Meal plan options can be found on our Meal Plan page.

What meal plans will be available?

Available meal plan options can be found on our Meal Plan page.

When do Meal Plans start and end?

Fall Meal Plans will begin on August 21 for First Years and August 28 for all other students. Meal plans end after December 21.

Spring Meal Plans will begin January 23 and run through May 12.

When should I expect to receive a dining contract?

Students will receive their dining contract with their housing contracts.

What will the menu options be?

For each meal, a daily, rotating menu will be served. Each dining hall serves its own, unique menu, usually consisting of a hot entree station, grill items, and a salad bar. Some dining halls may offer action stations, pizza stations, or both.

When available, menus can be found on our website, here.

If I have a meal plan is there a fee for recess meal plans?

The undergraduate unlimited, block 95, block 190, and block 235 meal plans, and the graduate unlimited and graduate block 105 meal plans remain active for the fall and spring recess periods. During recess, one brunch and one dinner swipe are allowed daily (re-entry is not permitted). Dining hall hours and open locations will be posted on our website.

Students without a meal plan have two meal plan options during recess:

1) The Traditional Recess Meal Plan includes two meals daily (not unlimited meal swipes); brunch and dinner. The plan fee is $207.00. A prorated fee will be charged if you register after recess has begun.

2) The Block 5 Meal Plan allows for a total of 5 meals during recess for a cost of $76.00.

In either case, a student must register with Campus Dining if they are planning to take meals during a recess. Registration information is announced via e-mail and posted to the website before each recess.

Guest meals, meal exchange, and two extra meal per week programs are not available during recess periods.

Can I eat in a dining hall during the academic year if I don't have a meal plan?

Juniors and seniors without a meal plan may use the Two Extra Meals program. Regardless of whether or not juniors and seniors purchase a meal plan, they are given two extra meals per week, Sunday brunch to Saturday dinner, to be used in a residential college dining hall.

Members of the University community without a meal plan — including students, faculty and staff — may eat in any dining hall at current single meal rates with a student charge, Paw Points, Tower Cards (purchased at TigerCard office), or a department charge. Cash or credit cards cannot be used for dining hall meals.

You will need to show your TigerCard to gain access to the dining halls. Be sure to let the card checker know which method you are choosing so that your account will be charged properly.

How do I change my meal plan?

A change that results in an increase can be made at any time through the Housing website. Click on "My Housing for Undergraduates" and log on using your Princeton netID and password, then click on "My contracts".

A change that results in a decrease can be made once each semester, during the dates below by contacting The Service Point at thepoint@princeton.edu.

Fall semester changes: September 20, 2021 through September 26, 2021
Spring semester changes: February 7, 2022 through February 14, 2022

See Terms and Policies for additional details.

Are students able to get guest passes for dining halls if they are enrolled in a meal plan?

At this time, guests are not permitted in the dining halls. This policy will be reevaluated at a later date.

Special Diets

What if I have a food allergy or special dietary need?

If you have a food allergy or a special dietary need, please contact our Registered Dietitian, Puneet Sethi, RDN at ps5680@princeton.edu

How do I communicate my dietary needs related to cultural and religious sensitivities?

Each dining hall has a culinary team who takes pride and passion in preparing nutritious meals for each member of the Princeton community. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to Campus Dining by emailing dining@princeton.edu.

Will halal meal options be available?

Yes, halal options will be available in the residential dining halls and at the Frist Food Gallery.

Campus Dining chefs or managers are available to answer questions or you can email Campus Dining at dining@princeton.edu.

Will kosher food be available?

Yes, the Center for Jewish Life will be open and kosher meals can be ordered to the dining halls 24 hours in advance. Please contact the manager of the dining hall from where you are picking your meal up from.

Quarantine Meals

I am an unvaccinated student arriving from an international location and have been advised to quarantine. Will I receive meals?

Yes, Campus Dining will provide meals for students who need to quarantine upon their arrival to campus. Students will be contacted by University Health Services (UHS) with further information and details.

FAQs updated September 3, 2021.