Answering your FAQs about the confusing changes to campus dining

Media Credit: File Photo Sophia Young | Photographer

After recent delays to changes in GW's dining system, officials have temporarily ditched their original plans for an all-you-can-eat dining hall in District House.

Delayed dining halls and pending promises have set the tone for a new chapter of GW dining this academic year during a confusing process of growing pains and slow progress.

GW’s transformative new dining system was set to launch three new all-you-can-eat dining halls to combat food insecurity for campus residents – an all-too-familiar challenge among current and former students alike – but disruption to the dining overhaul raises questions for all students, especially newcomers. While officials originally said all three dining halls were set to open this fall, GW scrubbed plans for the all-you-can-eat dining hall in District House this summer and the other two planned dining halls won’t be ready for the start of the school year.

We’ve got answers to your questions about campus dining, so here’s what you need to know for the upcoming semester.

How does GWorld work for dining?
Your GWorld card is your key to food at GW, acting like a debit card for meals, groceries and other purchases at about 80 participating vendors on and near campus. All freshmen receive $2,700 in dining dollars – your form of payment for food – this semester, and all other on-campus students get $1,670. While your allotted dining balance is meant to last you through each semester, students can add more dining dollars and colonial cash to their account via GW’s “GET” app if needed.

Not every store on or near campus accepts GWorld, but you can find a map of participating dining locations online or use the “GET” app to find vendors that accept GWorld. On the upside, students can link their GWorld card to their Grubhub account, meaning you can buy delivery or pickup from any restaurant on Grubhub with GWorld.

How does the new dining system work?
The University announced an “unlimited” dining system with all-you-can-eat dining halls in August last year. The upgrades were set to take effect at the start of this semester, but those commitments have fallen through due to global supply chain issues.

The University exchanged District House’s all-you-can-eat dining hall plan – which kicked out all of the hall’s basement vendors – for five new vendors that range from a salad storefront to a pizza and pasta eatery. A month later, officials delayed the dining hall openings in Thurston and Shenkman halls to mid-to-late September and spring 2023, respectively.

The Thurston dining hall will feature nine dining concept stations for different diets, including a made-from-scratch bakery and allergen station. The Shenkman dining hall will offer seven such stations, including a teaching kitchen where students can learn to cook from trained chefs.

The Thurston dining hall and The Eatery at Pelham Commons on the Mount Vernon Campus will offer all-you-can-eat buffets for $8 at breakfast, $10 at lunch and $12 at dinner this fall. The new vendors in District open Monday and offer meals consisting of an entree, side and drink for a price that equals the charge of entry at the all-you-can-eat campus dining halls, in addition to individual food items off their menu.

For the spring semester, all freshmen living in on campus will choose one of three unlimited meal plans, which vary in price from $2,700 to $3,100.

Where are the best places to eat on GWorld?
For a cheap breakfast or lunch, there are few better places than GW Deli, a bodega located on G Street. Be warned that though you may find the best bacon, egg and cheese sandwich near campus, it also offers some of the longest lines, often spilling onto the sidewalk in between classes.

As far as cheap dinner options, Tonic at Quigley’s offers a cheeseburger, a choice of side – like their self-proclaimed famous tater tots – and a soft drink or iced tea all for $10 on Sunday nights between 5 and 10 p.m. If you aren’t looking for a sit-down restaurant – or if it’s after 10 p.m. – famed convenience store-deli combo Wawa and jumbo slice pizza locale Pizza Movers & Calzones are viable options. They’re both a longer walk from campus – Wawa is near downtown and Pizza Movers & Calzones is in Georgetown – but both are available for Grubhub delivery.

When it comes time to splurge on dinner, no restaurant is more impressive than Duke’s Grocery, a burger-focused restaurant that offers numerous flavorful and acclaimed options to customers. Duke’s Grocery is located in restaurant conglomerate Western Market on Pennsylvania Avenue, making it a convenient dinner spot if showing your parents around campus.

Where should I go to grocery shop?
There are three grocery stores within walking distance from campus – Whole Foods Market on I Street, Trader Joe’s on 25th Street and Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Trader Joe’s provides the ideal intersection between cheap prices, proximity to campus and high-quality food but sadly does not accept GWorld. Go to Whole Foods or Safeway if you want to cover your groceries with dining dollars.

Whole Foods is significantly more expensive than Safeway, but it is also much easier to access on campus. Students heading to Safeway opt for a longer trip where they lug their groceries onto the Circulator for a ride back to the outskirts of campus. If you want to both save money and save time, the best strategy is to go to Whole Foods for your smaller grocery trips and Safeway for larger grocery runs.

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