Tips and Tricks for Dining on Campus at USC

Being a freshman has taught me so much my first month, but I quickly realized where my priorities lie: food, friends, studying and football. With that being said, these priorities do take up a decent amount of time, and since eating is one of them, that means that I’ve dedicated (way too much) time figuring out what works best for me, and hopefully you too! Included at the bottom of the page are the Fall 2018 hours of operation for all on-campus dining locations.

Managing Your Money

Meal swipes, Carolina Cash and Meal Plan dollars can get to be confusing at times. Where can you use Carolina Cash? Why doesn’t my meal swipe cover the total of my food? What can I do to pay for the overages? How do I keep track of all of this!? The system can be intimidating at first if you don’t know what you’re looking at or how to keep track of it all. After some investigating, I found my true appreciation for the GET app.


The GET Mobile app uses your VIP ID assigned by the University and your email to set up an account. It provides you with real-time updates of how many meal swipes per week you’ve used (hint: they reset Wednesday nights at midnight), how much Carolina Cash you’ve got remaining and your meal plan dollar balance. Instead of playing the guessing game, this is a reliable tool to plan out your meals for the week. In addition, you are able to deposit more money if need be, and can cancel or activate a new card all from the application.

Ordering On The Go

Some schedules don’t allow for a leisurely lunch, or maybe you live off campus and coming back to get food is a real inconvenience when you had plans to not leave your couch all day.

At Panera in Russell House, you can use the app or website to order rapid pickup. If you’re nearby, but don’t want to wait as long, hop inside and use one of the kiosks in the back. Not scientifically proven, but every time I and friends have used kiosks, our food was ready much quicker than waiting in line and order. Both online and at the kiosk allow you to go outside of their meal swipe/no cash equivalency stipulation and use either a gift card or credit card to order that huge bread bowl that's been on your mind since 8 a.m.

Tapingo App

Using Tapingo allows you to use any form of payment you desire to order ahead at participating locations on campus. Getting Twisted Taco every other day can be exhausting, so Tapingo has partnered with local restaurants to deliver more food options if you’re tired of the same meal and want more variety. The app allows for a credit card, meal swipe, meal plan dollars and Carolina Cash as forms of payment to avoid the hassle of paying for your food upon arrival. Not only is this convenient if you’re on the go, but it saves you from having to wait in line on days where you cannot wait another ten minutes to get started on your paper that's due at midnight (no, I’m not judging you).

Where To Use Carolina Cash

Most places on campus, including the Russell House bookstore, accept Carolina Cash as payment for items other than food. Although our primary outlet of therapy and self-care is food, we college students need more than that to get by, and that’s why the University has teamed up with 42 (FOURTY TWO!!) nearby vendors that accept CarolinaCash. From groceries to haircuts or maybe a spa day, the comprehensive list can be found here. 

What To Do Wednesday Night

If you find yourself with leftover meal swipes, but its Wednesday night and you have no need to order something from every restaurant near you, stop by Gamecock General or Community Table. There you can find small convenience stores that have everything from boxes of cereal, drinks, to frozen meals. Stock up on those for the week instead of having to venture out and get food when you aren’t feeling it, but remember that there’s a five minute waiting period between each meal swipe purchase.

Fall 2018 Hours of Operation