As you research potential colleges and universities, great food is likely to be an important factor in your final decision, particularly in the context of overall wellness. Food will be an important part of your everyday life on campus. Having healthy and varied choices—as well as convenient ones—helps to manage those long hours you may be pulling in the library. 

It’s important to know what to expect from modern meal plans, but you should also consider how colleges and universities are innovating to meet the wellness needs of their students. Located in sunny Florida, Rollins College is a proud part of the Best 389 Colleges guide and one of only 25 schools on the student-nominated “Best Campus Food” ranking list . Here are four things to look for in a dining hall, as well as in-action examples from the Fox Lodge, an innovative dining location Rollins opened in 2021.

A student explores fresh produce at Fox Lodge which offers locally grown, organic produce rotated for peak ripeness.

1. Diverse Menu and Convenience: Does your school have a range of options for each meal, from breakfast to midnight snacks? How comprehensively does it cater to various tastes and dietary preferences? Are there convenient AND wholesome grab-and-go options for students on the move?

Due to the well-designed layout and comprehensive offerings at the Fox Lodge, Rollins is able to cater to the range of cravings among its 1,800 residents. Students enjoy the cozy community ambiance of the Fox Lodge Café, where the on-site pastry chef bakes fresh pastries every morning and coffees, smoothies, and flatbreads are crafted to order. Students in the mood for a heartier meal head to the Fox Lodge Grill, which has its own rotisserie and also offers power bowls, eggs, grilled sandwiches, burgers, and more. As one student attests, "Amazing food and service have made the Fox Lodge my go-to place on campus." New specials are featured every two weeks and the most popular ones become regular menu items. For do-it-yourself students or those looking for an afternoon snack, a full-service grocery features traditional favorites alongside vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options. Plus, refrigerated deli shelves house Rollins’ own Blue & Gold meal boxes and Simply To Go sandwiches and salads, prepared by Rollins chefs daily. According to one enthusiastic patron, the Fox Lodge always offers a "great food selection, and I even found my new favorite snack while browsing the shelves at the market!"

2. Community-Focused Design : Is your dining area more than just a place to eat? Does it provide welcoming, communal areas where students can gather, socialize, and engage in meaningful discussions over food? Do you find opportunities for interaction and a sense of belonging?

The Fox Lodge’s central location and proximity to the fitness center—complete with views of the resort-style pool and placid Lake Virginia—have transformed it from a dining hall to a hub for fostering community. Extended operating hours provide space for students to cram before a morning exam or work on group projects until after midnight. The layout of Fox Lodge also plays a pivotal role in achieving student interaction, with the market situated between the Café and the Grill. In alignment with Rollins' values, the community-focused design ensures convenient access and then guides students to spaces where they can gather over food to enjoy meaningful discussions and camaraderie.

3. Health and Wellness : Does the school elevate the wellness of students in their menus and offerings? Look for menus that emphasize nourishing ingredients and provide a wide range of healthy options. The dining facility should accommodate diverse dietary needs (including your own). Transparency is crucial, with clear labeling to help students make informed choices. 

Student shopping at the full-service grocery of Fox Lounge.

At the Fox Lodge, menus are meticulously curated to feature nourishing ingredients in popular and fresh offerings. Calorie counts and allergen information are clearly displayed, ensuring that students stay informed and protected. The grocery items are fresh, health-conscious, and almost entirely organic. Students adhering to kosher, halal, vegan, or gluten-free diets discover new options every day. A dedicated dietician is available for consultation, and students may request specialty items not currently stocked for delivery to their dorm room.

4. Quality and Freshness : How does the school prioritize food quality and freshness in its offerings? Do they source local ingredients when possible?

Fresh ingredients and creative dishes can enhance the overall dining experience. The market at Fox Lodge offers locally grown, organic produce that is regularly rotated to ensure peak ripeness. The Fox Lodge also offers free cooking demonstrations to educate students on the ease and health benefits of preparing fresh, minimally processed foods.

Whether students are coming from a rigorous workout at the nearby fitness center or simply seeking a meal that nourishes their bodies and souls, the Fox Lodge might just become their favorite spot on the Rollins College campus.

Learn more about Rollins College—more than just great food!—in its school profile .