FIU students have no lack of places to eat on campus. While feeding their minds is the university’s No. 1 goal, plenty of thought has been given to feeding their bellies.
FIU continues to expand its food offerings to better serve the ever-growing student population and in acknowledgement of the ever-longer student day. With a few classes beginning as early as 7 a.m. and the libraries closing their doors at 1 a.m., the need for nourishment knows no downtime.
Between the Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC) and the Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC), fully 26 eateries open every weekday.
At MMC the choices run from a full-service cafeteria that offers meal plans for residential students to well-known franchises – among them Subway, Chili’s Too, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chick-fil-A, Burger King and Papa John’s – that provide tried-and-true fare for the masses.
“The variety is great,” freshman Alexa Chavarry says. “There are different options. I like to go either to Jamba Juice or Salad Creations.”
Sophomore Michael Larosa values the convenience. “I would love to eat [off campus], but it’s inconvenient most of the time.” He says leaving for lunch would mean a time-consuming hunt for scarce parking upon his return. So instead he opts for his favorite standby, Pollo Tropical. “I love rice and beans,” he says over a bowl of the chain’s signature Tropichop.
Bringing recognized vendors onto campus is part of an effort to meet students’ needs, says Jeffrey Krablin, assistant vice president for Business Services.
“What we’re trying to do is give students a reason to stay here outside of studying in their classes,” Krablin says. To that end, the university stations food outlets by taking “a strategic look at where students cluster throughout the day.”
The largest concentration of offerings at MMC are in the Graham Center and on the first floor of PG5 Market Station, a parking garage on the north side of campus, both of which provide food court-style dining. Free-standing venues also dot the campus, including coffee shops in the library and the College of Business Administration building and a smoothie-and-sandwich outlet in the Recreation Center. Mini-markets that sell snacks and refrigerated beverages are located in the library, near the residence halls, on the ground floor of the SIPA (School of International and Public Affairs) building and in the Graham Center. A food truck specializing in kosher sandwiches and salads is parked on the east side of the library.
Commuter students who spend a lot of time at MMC and want a convenient way to pay for food and save 10 percent or more can purchase meal passes for dining in the Fresh Food Company cafeteria, which offers all-you-care-to-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. BBC students should consider the All Access Pass, which offers discounted dining at the four venues on that campus (as well as all but the cafeteria at MMC). A pass acts like a debit card, with the prepaid balance going down every time the card is swiped in exchange for a meal.
Of course, feeding the body is just one aspect of dining on campus. For many students, it’s a chance to spend time with friends over a quick bite.
“We can talk about things that are going on,” says senior Megan Nichols, who sits down with a group of sorority sisters several times per week. “Eating alone is sad.”
Fun Food Facts
- Papa John’s serves 37,800 slices of pizza per year.
- Moe’s Southwest Grill serves 125,000 scoops of chips per year.
- Subway bakes up 95,000 foot-long bread loaves per semester.
- Moe’s stuffs 1,620 pounds of black beans and 405 pounds of pinto beans – for a total of 2,025 pounds – into their tacos, burritos and rice bowls per year.