As a first year on-campus student at Bowling Green, you’re required to have a custom meal plan including retail falcon dollars and meal swipes. Yes, that means you will spend most of your first year eating in the “dreaded” dining halls. It’s important to learn about your meal plan and a few tips and tricks to make the most out of it.

1.Understand the three different meal plans.

Bronze -$1,669 (2017-2018): The custom bronze meal plan includes 90 meal swipes/semester and 800 falcon dollars.

Silver -$1,986 (2017-2018): The custom silver meal plan includes 120 meal swipes/semester and 900 falcon dollars.

Gold -$2,156 (2017-2018): The custom gold meal plan includes 140 meal swipes/semester and 1,000 falcon dollars.

It’s your own personal preference which meal plan to choose, but odds are you won’t use all of your meal swipes and unfortunately, those don’t carry over to the next semester; unlike falcon dollars so think about how many meal swipes you plan to use each semester because you always have the option to add more falcon dollars to your account if you run out.

2. Educate yourself on what falcon dollars are and where you can use them.

Falcon dollars are used at the on-campus retail locations like normal cash would be used. Each of these locations also accepts debit cards and cash. Falcon dollars carry over from Fall semester to Spring semester but do not carry on to the next year. Here are the places you can use them:

The Bowen-Thompson Student Union:


Dunkin’ Donuts: Located next to the oaks and inside Olscamp.

Outtakes: there are various locations around campus including the  Kreischer Sundial, The BTSU, The Jerome Library, and Carillon Place.    Outtakes is an on-campus convenience store.

The Kreischer Sundial

The Sundial is a great place to get food late at night, as they are open until      midnight most nights and they have many options. There is a burger bar,      another Marco’s Pizza, a pasta bar, and a salad bar.

Exterior Image of Kreischer Quadrangle on a sunny day.

3. Know where you can use your meal swipes:

Carillon Place: AYCE

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The Oaks: AYCE

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Select Outtakes: Includes an entree (salad or sandwich), chips, a side (usually fruit, yogurt, or veggies), and a drink.

4. Don’t forget that you ARE paying for meal swipes, too.

It may be tempting to grab food at the union (especially because of the Steak n’ Shake and Panda Express) every day, but you are paying for meal swipes. The dining halls really aren’t that bad and if you use falcon dollars every day, you will run out.

5. Choose Healthy foods.

Everybody worries about the freshman fifteen, but that isn’t the only reason that you should make healthy choices. Healthy foods will energize you for the day as well as keep you focused. Odds are, you will find healthier options in the dining halls for one meal swipe as opposed to the fast food in the union that uses your falcon dollars.

6. Don’t spend a lot of money at grocery stores, you really don’t need to.

Picking up a few odds and ends at the grocery store like milk, coffee creamer, etc. is fine, but full-blown grocery store trips are a waste while you’re living on campus. At BGSU, we have outtakes where you can pay for all of your on-the-go snacks with your meal plan and you will probably be eating most of your main meals either in the dining halls or the other on-campus dining locations.

Dining on campus at Bowling Green State University really isn’t that bad. There are so many options to choose from and dining halls put on fun events often with festive foods. Eating in a dining hall all the time may not be the most luxurious thing but it can be worse than what BGSU offers for their students.


Ally Freehoffer

I am a first-year student at Bowling Green State University majoring in Forensic Biology. I'm involved in the Forensics Learning Community, an on campus health and wellness group called CHAARG, and Omega Phi Alpha, the National Service Sorority.

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