FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions.

If you do not find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us.

How do I check my meal plan balance? 

You can check your meal plan balance and usage online at https://get.cbord.com/umass

Am I Required to Purchase a Meal Plan?

All undergraduate students living in non-apartment style campus residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. Freshmen and sophomores are required to purchase a Residential meal plan (Value or Unlimited). First-year and transfer residential students are automatically assigned to the Value Meal Plan.

What Meal Plan Will I Be Assigned To?

Students are automatically reassigned and billed for the meal plan they were on in the previous semester with the exception of first-year and transfer residential students who are assigned the Value meal plan. Therefore, if you were not on a meal plan last semester and would like to purchase one, please do so on SPIRE before the end of Add/Drop period. See academic calendar at http://www.umass.edu/registrar/calendars/academic-calendar

When Does My Meal Plan Begin / End?

All semester meal plans follow the residence halls schedule of operations. Fall and spring semester meal plans begin on move-in day for multi-year students. Fall semester meal plans end the day after move-out day. Spring semester meal plans end the Sunday after Commencement. Meals do not carry forward from one semester to another

How can I purchase, change or cancel a meal plan?  Are refunds available?

Students may change or cancel (if eligible) their meal plan by 5pm on the last day of Add/Drop period.  Changes are to be made on SPIRE.  There are no meal plan downgrades or cancellations after Add/Drop period. Click here to order, change or cancel your meal plan!

Students may upgrade their meal plan at any time on SPIRE during the semester and pay only the difference in price between the old and the new meal plan.

Students withdrawing from the University will have their meal plan refunded as per the Registrar’s Office refund schedule.

Students are advised to use their meal plans wisely as meals do not carry forward and there are no refunds for meals remaining at the end of the semester.

For more information, please call the Meal Plan Office at 413-545-1362.

Are There Daily or Weekly Limits to My Meal Plan?

All of our meal plans (both residential and YCMP) are block plans and there are no daily or weekly limits. You may check the remaining balance of your meal plan when you swipe in at the cashier’s station or online at https://get.cbord.com/umass

What if I Run Out of Meals?

If a student on a meal plan runs out of meals at any time during the semester, additional meals can be purchased in blocks of ten. Please call the Meal Plan Office for more information at 545-1362. Depending on when the student runs out of meals, another option would be for the student to upgrade to a larger meal plan such as the Unlimited meal plan which can be done at any time during the semester on SPIRE.

What are guest meals?

Guest Meals are invitations to bring someone to dine at the dining commons with you. For each residential meal plan, 15 of the total meals each semester are for guests. With YCMP, there is no limit for Guest Meals.

What is a meal exchange?

Residential meal plan holders may use Meal Exchanges at any of our retail operations with a cash value of $9.50. If the selections total more than $9.50, the balance can be paid with cash, credit or debit card, the UCard debit account, or an additional meal exchange. There are no cash refunds for the difference using an extra meal exchange.

Why am I limited to spending $9.50 in the retail dining operations?

The YCMP meal plans are priced to give students the option to eat in the all-you-care-to-eat dining commons -or- to eat in the retail dining locations across campus.  And once you factor in the 15 “Swipe-Free” Friday dinners, the price paid per meal for the YCMP plans is significantly less than the original price. Retail dining operations receive $9.50 from the Meal Plan Office for each retail swipe, which is why there is a cash limit of $9.50. This reimbursement covers the direct cost of preparing the meal (food and labor) with the difference used to cover additional operating expenses.

May I use my friend’s meal plan?

Meal plans are not transferable between students. The meal plan is only for the student to whom it was issued. Keep your UCard secure at all times to prevent unauthorized use. Misuse of UCards will result in disciplinary measures.

Can I bring my family to the Dining Commons?

Family members such as parents, grandparents, guardians, brothers and sisters can eat free with you for lunch or dinner in the Dining Commons during move in or pick up. We would love to show them what we are all about. This offer applies only to semester meal plans and does not include Faculty/Staff/Graduate YCMPII.

Do you have a Kosher Meal Plan?

Yes, our certified Kosher program is located at Franklin Dining Commons in the Central residential area. Our kosher meat (non-dairy) kitchen is under the strict supervision of a Mashgiach and the Springfield Vaad Hakashruth. Kosher meals are available Sunday to Thursday, for lunch and dinner and Friday for lunch. High holidays meals are also available for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover. Students must sign up in advance for these special meals.

What is the Five College Meal Exchange program?

If you have classes at Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, or Hampshire College around mealtimes you can use you meal plan to have some of your meals there. Contact the Meal Plan Office at 545-1362 for more information.

What happens to my unused meals at the end of the semester?

Unused meals are forfeited at the end of each semester. There are no refunds for unused meals. Current Meal Plan prices reflect the fact that not all students consume all meals available on their plan.

Am I restricted to eat in one specific dining common?

With ALL Meal Plans, you can visit any of the four dining commons for the all-you-care-to-eat program. Your Campus Meal Plan (YCMP) and Meal Exchanges may also be used at any of our retail dining locations on campus.

How can I get a menu before I go to the dining commons?

Weekly menus for each of the dining commons are posted on this site under "Locations and Menus" and on the housing channel.

How convenient is it to eat at the dining commons?

All dining commons are open continuously from breakfast through dinner, 7 days a week and Worcester and Berkshire offer late night options Sunday through Thursday. Breakfast on the Run and Grab ‘n Go lunch options are available during the week at All Dining Commons when you don’t have the time to sit and eat. During Exam Periods evening hours are extended.

Can I take food out of the dining commons?

In general food from the dining commons should only be consumed while in the dining room. Something that you are eating while exiting the dining commons such as an apple, cookie, ice cream cone or a drink in your UMass Dining Bottle is fine. If you are in a rush, try Breakfast on the Run or the Grab ‘n Go concepts. If special circumstances exist, such as an illness or injury preventing you from leaving your room, we will be happy to provide you with a Special Service Meal.

What is the “Get Well” meal program?

We hope you always eat smart and live well. However, if you are unable due to illness or injury, UMass Dining can provide a Get Well meal for you. Contact your DC manager to request a Get Well meal. A Get Well meal consists of: Chicken Soup, Crackers, Fresh Cut Fruit, Jello, Ginger Ale, and more. A meal will be deducted from your meal plan. We hope you have a quick recovery.

Can I get help with my special dietary needs?

Yes! Our full-time Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Dianne Z. Sutherland, can provide counseling, regarding nutrition and individual dietary needs, such as lactose intolerances and food allergies, to students on the meal plan, free of charge. You may make an appointment by calling (413) 545-2472 or via e-mail: dietitian@mail.aux.umass.edu.

Meal Plan Exemption/Reduction requests:

University policy requires that all undergraduate residential students living in non-apartment University housing must be on a meal plan. Students living in campus apartments, graduate students and off-campus students have the option of being on a meal plan but it is not required. 

The University deemed it mandatory for all undergraduates living in residence halls to be on a meal plan to enhance the student residential experience and promote campus community, dining convenience and nutrition. Juniors (57 or more completed credits) and seniors living in residential halls have the additional option of purchasing the Platinum or Gold YCMP.

You are automatically exempt from a meal plan if you are:

• Living off-campus

• Living in apartment-style University housing

• A graduate student

• A Resident Assistant with 57+ completed credits

• Living in a Greek House 

• A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (documentation must be submitted to Meal Plan Office in Franklin Dining Commons) 

If you do not fall in any of the above categories and feel you have reason to reduce or be exempt from the meal plan, please complete the Exemption Application.

Reasons for reduction or exemption include medical, dietary and religious. Please do not use this form for financial assistance. For questions regarding your bill and for financial assistance, please contact the UMass Financial Aid Office at (413) 545-0801.

Can I use my meal plan at the football concession?

Yes, you must obtain a voucher from any of our cashiers in the dining commons. Your UCard will be swiped and you will receive one voucher, which is worth $8.50 at the football concessions. Only one voucher per student per game will be accepted.

Can I place table tents on the DC tables?

Due to the popularity of table tents, only 5 requests are allowed per week. All requests must be approved by Dining Services 2 weeks in advance. Only approved table tents from University Departments and Recognized Student Organizations will be accepted for distribution in the dining commons. NO commercial events or services may be advertised. For a complete set of guidelines, contact Dining Services at 545-2472.

Are there any job opportunities at Dining Services?

Student employees are an essential part of our operation. Convenient on-campus locations, flexible hours, and the opportunity for student supervisory positions are just a few of the benefits of working in Dining Services. For student employment opportunities, review available positions on our web site: http://www.umassauxiliaryservices.com/jobs

What happens if I lose my Ucard?

To prevent unauthorized use of your lost or stolen UCard, you must notify the UCard Office immediately by calling (413) 545-0197 or visiting the UCard Office in Room 168 Whitmore Administration Building. The cost to replace the UCard is $25.00. There will be no refunds issued for meals eaten by another student who has your UCard as you are responsible for reporting the lost or stolen UCard.

If I need help or have any concerns, where can I go?

It’s easy to get our attention and management staff is always available, so do not hesitate to ask for a manager, assistant manager, supervisor or chef directly. Please see our Contact Us page for contact info for our Management Team. If you would rather stay anonymous, fill out a comment card or send an e-mail to food@mail.aux.umass.edu or call us at (413) 545-2472.

 

SPE Certified FAQs

What is SPE Certified?

SPE Certified is a certification and consulting program designed to enhance the nutritional quality of food without compromising taste. SPE stands for Sanitas Per Escam, Latin for “Health Through Food.” The principles of SPE were developed in 2001 and practiced in Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate in New York City since 2008. In 2011, SPE Certified was established as the certification and consulting arm of the unique culinary philosophy underlying Rouge Tomate. Its mission is to effect positive change in the food services industry by providing a universal, trusted standard for healthy and delicious dining outside of the home. SPE Certified collaborates with diverse restaurants and foodservice establishments seeking independent, third-party certification of their high standards of nutrition, quality and integrity.

What makes SPE Certified different from other nutritional symbols?

The SPE Certified symbol indicates that a dish is not only nutritious and balanced but also has been properly sourced. And because SPE was born out of a Michelin-starred restaurant, SPE Certified dishes will be delicious and full of flavor, quite different from typically boring ‘health food’.

How is SPE Certified different from the farm-to-table movement?

The farm-to-table movement is about local, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients. However, SPE Certified goes two steps further by ensuring dishes meet nutritional criteria and taste delicious.

What’s so special about the UMASS Amherst/SPE Certified relationship?

UMASS Amherst is proud to be the first SPE Certified university in the nation.

Why is SPE Certified important to me?

An SPE Certified combination dish is designed to provide the nutritional balance you need, making your dining simple and “one-stop.” Also, portions are engineered so that you leave the table energized and satiated. By “eating SPE,” you get more of what you need, and less of what you don’t. And above all, taste matters: SPE dishes are both nutritious AND delicious!