Support for students facing food insecurity.

Each day too many students miss meals, spending valuable energy worrying about how to feed themselves or their families while facing difficult decisions about spending their limited funds on books or course materials, utilities or groceries.

In support of Oregon State University’s campus-wide efforts, University Housing & Dining Services is committed to addressing food insecurity and providing opportunities for our students to thrive.  


Food for Thought

During Fall 2019, University Housing & Dining Services launched a meal program called Food for Thought. Using the extra food generated by our campus dining locations, we create pre-packaged, balanced meal options, available for purchase at a reduced price.

These meals are available at no cost to Oregon State students who meet eligibility criteria determined by the Basic Needs Center (BNC) previously called Human Services Resource Center (HSRC).


The Full Plate Fund

Food insecurity can affect any student, even students living in campus residence halls, even when they have a dining plan. The Full Plate Fund, a collaboration between University Housing & Dining Services and the Basic Needs Center, helps address this issue. 

Students with dining plans can donate dining plan dollars to the Full Plate Fund at any time, and the BNC distributes these donated funds to other residence hall students who are struggling to get enough to eat.

Learn more about the Full Plate Fund.

SNAP Benefits at Cascadia Market

Oregon State Unversity is one of the few colleges in the country where students can use federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to purchase food staples on campus.

Since 2016, SNAP benefits have been accepted at Cascadia Market, the on-campus grocery store operated by University Housing & Dining Services.

Cascadia Market, located in the International Living-Learning Center, carries a variety of groceries, including fresh produce, fresh dairy products, frozen foods and canned goods.

Learn more about SNAP for students.

Make Cents meals & food for $5

Make Cents meals are nutritionally balanced, low-cost meals available at every UHDS dining center. They are designed to give students and dining center guests a nutritious meal option at an economical price.

For the 2022-23 academic year, Make Cents meals will be $5.00 each. Students using a UHDS dining plan receive an additional 20 percent discount on their meals.

In addition to Make Cents meals, dining center guests can find many options for nutritious food that costs less than $5, including salad bars, breakfast items, soup, some sandwiches, and servings of beans, grains, and vegetables.

See today's Make Cents daily specials.



Food donations

University Housing & Dining Services collaborates with many campus and community organizations to donate excess food.

  • Basic Needs Center Food Pantry: UHDS donates fresh produce and other products directly to the on-campus food pantry.
  • Linn Benton Food Share: Leftovers are sent to Linn Benton Food Share for use in community soup kitchens.
  • Callahan Food Forest: During months when produce from the UHDS on-campus vegetable garden is not being used by dining center chefs, we partner with campus groups such as Community Engagement & Leadership to harvest the produce for use at the BNC food pantry. Students and campus visitors are also welcome to sample the fresh produce available in the Callahan Food Forest.


Fundraisers & events

University Housing & Dining Services works with several campus partners to raise money for organizations that fight food insecurity.

  • Empty Bowls: This annual event is a soup feed and celebration that raises money for organizations that fight food insecurity. McNary Dining Center hosts Empty Bowls and provides all the food for event guests. The event is held in collaboration with OSU Anthropology, Food in Culture & Social Justice, Community Engagement and Leadership, and the Basic Needs Center.
  • Food drive: Each year in February, UHDS dining locations collect food and Full Plate Fund donations in support of the Oregon State Food Drive.
  • BNC donations: Collections boxes are available year-round in UHDS coffee shops, encouraging guests to donate funds to the BNC.


Discounts & dining rollover

Students and guests at campus dining centers have several options for receiving discounts and getting the most out of their dining budgets.

  • Dining plans. When a campus resident spends from their dining plan, they receive a 20 percent discount on all food purchases from dining center restaurants, and a 10 percent discount at other UHDS food locations.
  • Orange Cash. Anyone affiliated with Oregon State can use the Orange Cash program, which allows them to receive a 10-percent discount at food locations operated by University Housing & Dining Services.
  • Dining plan rollover. UHDS dining plan balances don't expire at the end of a student's year living on campus. Instead, all UHDS dining plan balances roll over for one additional academic year. This allows students to fully use all of their dining plan dollars, and provides a convenient way for them to continue to eat at dining centers even if they have moved off campus.
  • Meal Perq: Students who have a campus job with UHDS dining services receive a 50 percent discount off their meal during their work shift.


Education & training

University Housing & Dining Services staff members work to educate both students and professional staff members about nutrition and food resources.

  • Creating Healthy Easy Food: The CHEF class series is a multi-part cooking class, taught by UHDS chefs each winter term. CHEF classes teach campus residents basic cooking skills using low-cost ingredients, empowering students to create balanced meals on their own when they graduate or move off campus.
  • Staff Training: We provide training to our staff around campus resources such as the services available at the Basic Needs Center, enabling them to share about those resources to students in need.