Dining Services

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the most value out of my RDA plan?

The dining centers extend a 40% discount on all purchases made with RDA funds.  Dining at Hillside Café, Northside Café and Southside Café will provide the most purchasing power from your RDA dollars. RDA is accepted at markets, espresso bars, late night FLIX, Einstein Bagels and Carlitas, these location extend a lesser discount of 10%.  


Are students required to have a meal plan, or can I have a housing contract only?

A Residential Dining Account (RDA)  is a required part of the Housing and Dining Financial Contract, except for students not subject to the Freshman Live In Requirement (FLIR), described at WAC 504-24-030, and living in McEachern or Orton Halls.  Additionally, a student with a sophomore standing or above (Running Start credits are not counted), and has attended WSU for at least 1 year may choose  not to participate in an RDA plan.  

Can I eat in the Dining Services facilities if I live off-campus?

Yes, all Dining Services facilities on campus accept Cougar CASH, debit and credit. Using Cougar CASH at the on-campus Dining Services facilities will help you to save on your purchases. Cougar CASH is accepted in all Dining Service facilities, including the residence Dining Centers and Dining Services Markets, Carlita's Mexican Grille, Freshëns, Webfood and Dining Services Espresso Bars. 

For further information on the Cougar CASH account, please go to this web page: http://cougarcard.wsu.edu/cougarcard/cougar-cash/

Can I use my dining account in the campus markets and Espresso Bars?

Yes!  With a Residence Dining Account (RDA), students can make purchases at the following locations:

  • Hillside Café
  • Northside Café
  • Southside Café,
  • Carlita's Mexican Grille,
  • Freshens at the CUB,
  • Flix Café, 
  • Flix Market 
  • Towers Market 
  • Hillside Market 
  • The Market at Global Scholars Hall 
  • Einsteins Bagel Bros. 
  • FLIX Express 
  • Lighty Espresso 
  • CUE Café and Espresso 
What type of discount do I receive with RDA at Hillside Café, Northside Café, or Southside Café?

All residents will receive a 40% discount when they use their RDA in the residence dining facilities: Hillside Café, Northside Café, and Southside Café. Residents will receive a 10% discount at the following locations:

  • Carlita's Mexican Grille,
  • Freshens at the CUB,
  • Flix Café,
  • Flix market
  • Towers Market
  • Hillside Market
  • The Market at Global Scholars Hall
  • Einstein Bagel Brothers
  • FLIX Express
  • Lighty espresso
  • CUE Café and Espresso
Do my dining dollars carry over from one semester to the next semester?

The account balance will be carried over from fall semester to spring and from spring to the following fall only if you stay in the residence hall system and purchase a Residence Dining Account (RDA). Since the RDA is not accepted in the summer, the balance is not carried over from spring semester to summer semester.

What are the hours of operation for Dining Services during breaks and holidays?

Northside Café, Hillside Café and Southside Café are closed during official school breaks, such as Thanksgiving, semester break, and spring break. During academic breaks, Carlita's Mexican Grille, Freshëns and the Espresso Bars have limited operations available. For the most up to date information regarding break hours, please refer to dining.wsu.edu/hours.

What dining options are there through Dining Services?

Hillside Café, Northside Café, and Southside Café serve a full range of great tasting, wholesome foods. Menus vary and include items that are familiar as well as bold flavors inspired by cuisines from around the world. Customizable, cook-to-order options are always available. All dining centers feature a fresh salad bar from lunch through dinner seven days per week. Vegetarian and vegan options are available in each dining facility. Other options available daily are, made-to-order grilled sandwiches, pizza, deli sandwiches and wraps. 

Are there menu selections available other than meal times?
How can I find out what is on the menu?

Our menus are posted daily: 

Northside: /dining-options/northside-cafe/

Southside: /dining-options/southside-cafe/

Hillside: /dining-options/hillside-cafe/

Are there opportunities for employment with Dining Services?

Yes! Dining Services is proud to be the largest employer of students on campus, and has a variety of employment opportunities for students .   See open position and submit applications online at CougLink.  You may also print the application and turn in to any Dining services manager at any dining services facility.  

Are there options available to me if I require a special diet?

Dining Services provides a wide variety of food in order to meet individual nutritional needs and preferences. If you have questions or concerns about nutrition or special diets, our staff dietitian is available for individual diet counseling, group discussions, and presentations. Contact Alice Ma the registered dietitian for Dining services at (509) 335-4785.

Is there anything other than salads I can eat if I am a vegetarian?

Dining services has a strong commitment to providing plant-based options to meet the needs of our guests.  Vegetarian and vegan options are available daily throughout our menus, and can are identified on the menus posted here:

Northside: /dining-options/northside-cafe/

Southside: /dining-options/southside-cafe/

Hillside: /dining-options/hillside-cafe/

What Dining Services facility can I use if I have a physical disability?

All of the residence dining facilities are ADA accessible.

Can I order takeout or cakes or cookies for special events through Dining Services?

Anyone can order special cakes or take-outs from Dining Services. Just contact the Catering Scheduler at 509-335-9444. Additionally, cakes can be ordered online at dining.wsu.edu/order-online/special-occasion-cakes/ for pickup in as little as two days.

How do I access the money in my dining account and find out what my balance is?

The Residence Dining Account (RDA) resides on your CougarCard (I.D. Card). The account works with a declining balance. Each time you use your CougarCard to make a purchase, the amount of the purchase is deducted from your account and the display on the register will show you the balance left on your account. You can use GET,  a WSU  mobile app to quickly check your balances and add funds, more information can be found at https://dining.wsu.edu/getfood. You can also log in to your account on My WSU select finances from the navigation menu and click on view activity under your RDA account. 

How do I add money to my dining account?

For immediate service you can go online to dining.wsu.edu/addrda or go to one of the kiosks located near the entrance of each dining café.

GET, Dining Services mobile app and mobile friendly website, allows you to quickly add RDA funds or CougarCash, more information can be found at dining.wsu.edu/getfood.

How do I reduce/increase my meal plan level?

Students select one dining account level on their Housing and Dining Contract application. If you find you have selected the wrong level, you can change your dining account level on-line at dining.wsu.edu/rda/changerda.You must change it before the end of the eighth week of classes each semester. Please keep in mind, changing your meal plan will change your payment schedule.

Which meal plan should I choose?

We suggest that you make your decision based upon how often you plan to eat in the residence dining facilities, how often you plan to use your RDA dollars in the markets and espresso bars, what kind of food you plan to eat since items are individually priced, and how often you plan to go home on weekends. Level 2 is the most commonly selected plan. Read through the information available on our Dining Plan to assess what level is best for you:  /rda/

What are Residence Dining Account (RDA) dollars (meal plan level) and how can I use them?

When you select a dining account level on your Housing and Dining contract, a portion of the cost is allocated to overhead and the remainder is Residence Dining Account (RDA) dollars. Each item is individually purchased in the Hillside Café, Northside Café, Southside Café, Webfood, Carlita's Mexican Grille, Freshens, Dining Services Espresso Bars, and Markets. Pick up the items you wish to purchase and give your CougarCard to the cashier. When the card is run through the cash register, the amount of your purchase is deducted from your RDA dollars.

How many meals per week do I get?

The Residence Dining Account is not on a per meal basis. You receive dining dollars that you can use in any dining facility. Each item is individually priced so the number of meals is determined by how many times you eat in the residence dining facilities, the price of the items, how often you use the markets and espresso bars, and the dining level you choose on your Housing and Dining Contract application.

What if I have money left in my Residence Dining Account (RDA) at the end of the semester?

If you have  money left in your Residence Dining Account (RDA), you can also use your RDA in the campus markets to purchase grocery items.  You may also donate RDA to others in need via the Cougs Feeding Cougs program https://www.studentaffairs.wsu.edu/cougs-feeding-cougs/. You may also contact a Dining Service Managers for assistance in making larger quantity food purchases.

Will I be able to pay for a guest to eat in the Dining Services facilities?

You can pay for a guest's meal in the Dining Centers with your Residence Dining Account (RDA) as long as you accompany the guest to the cash register. The account holder is the only one who can use their dining account. Cougar CASH is also accepted in all Dining Services facilities, including the residence Dining Centers and campus markets, Dining Services espresso bars, and Carlita's Mexican Grille and Espresso. Carlita's Mexican Grille, Freshens and Hillside Café and Market also accept cash.

I lost my CougarCard. Can I still use my RDA to eat?

Yes. You can use the GETfood app to pay with your mobile device, or you can  see a Dining Services Manager at any  dining center to obtain a Temporary Meal Pass. Temporary Meal Passes are good for one business day (if you lose your CougarCard on Friday, a Temporary Meal Pass will be good through Monday), so you'll need to replace your CougarCard ASAP. You will have instant access to your RDA on your replacement CougarCard. Keep your CougarCard safe! Only three Temporary Meal Passes are allowed per semester.

Can I use Cougar CASH at the dining locations?

Yes. Students, staff, faculty, and community members can pay at WSU dining locations using Cougar CASH. It is the convenient, cashless way to pay at the area's most popular businesses and services on and near campus. View the CougarCard website for more information about Cougar CASH.

Who should I contact if I have questions about my dining account?

If you have general questions about how the account works, hours of operation, where it can be used, please contact Dining Services at (509) 335-5498 or dining@wsu.edu. If you have financial questions about your account such as adding money, where to send a payment, how much do I owe, please contact Housing and Dining Financial Services at (509) 335-8625 or e-mail hdfinance@wsu.edu.