9 Bon Appétit Schools Make Daily Meal’s List for Best College Food

School is back in session, and the Daily Meal just wrapped up a summer-long research project —  a hunt for the best college food in the country. The team examined the dining programs at every four-year college in America — more than 2,000 of them. They ranked them using their performance in the following categories:

Healthy Food: Meals that are fresh, made from scratch, and cooked in small batches

Events: Themed dinners, picnics, cooking classes — anything to engage undergrads

Local: Programs that support the community with local purchases

Sustainable: Incorporating eco-friendly practices into the dining program

Accessibility and Service: How easy it is for students to connect with dining services, and how well they are taken care of

The X Factor: Something that made our jaws drop

Nine Bon Appétit schools made the resulting list of 52!

To read more about what makes each school’s dining program unique, scroll through the slideshow to find in-depth descriptions of the school’s offerings.

  • Washington University in St. Louis (#3) offers events, demos, and classes to encourage students to learn about where their food comes from and how to prepare it.  They also offer a wide variety of different cuisines, including a tandoor station run by chefs from Pakistan and India.
  • At St. Olaf College (#8), the team is committed to buying as local as possible, often from the on-campus farm. The kitchen also takes care of students with special needs, preparing individual meals each week for those with food allergies.
  • Wheaton College (#15) prides itself on quality and sustainable ingredients, great customer service, and making foodservice transparent so students know how fresh their food is and how it’s being prepared.
  • Whatever your food preferences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (#20) has something to offer – including kosher, halal, vegetarian, and vegan options. Plus, with their focus on local food, “produce is typically prepared and served within 48 hours.”
  • University of Pennsylvania (#22) also knows how to have fun, by celebrating food holidays such as National Peach Cobbler Day or National Pretzel day. They’re also deeply committed to our Farm to Fork philosophy and offer an on-site farmers’ market.
  • Pitzer College (#26) is known for offering a variety of food made from quality ingredients. Though the team at Pitzer takes food seriously, they also know how to have fun with it, and offers “theme nights like Mongolian Mondays.”
  • At Duke University (#29), variety is the name of the game, where cafés offer everything from comfort food to Indian to sushi. And for those who keep Kosher, Duke prepares family-style Shabbat dinners every Friday.
  • Mills College (#34) is committed to sustainability and local food, but also ensures the students have a variety of things to choose from, down to a choice of different greens at the salad bar.
  • Roger Williams University (#46) was recognized for its commitment to fresh, local, and seasonal offerings and adhering to strict animal welfare standards.

Congratulations to these schools for such glowing report cards!