The DC as it stands on Saturday, Sept. 8. Students with dining plans can now take part in the Meal Trade program.

The University of Nevada, Reno, introduced a meal trade program this semester as an alternative to the Downunder Cafe. Students with any meal plan or community plan may trade a swipe to go toward a meal at participating restaurants once per day.

The new meal trade program allows students to receive an entree, a side dish and a drink in exchange for one swipe. Participating restaurants include Grill 775, Urban Revolution, Second City Deep Dish Pizza, Mandalay Express, Forklift, Smoked, DeliNV, Elements, Bytes and Pathway. Restaurants in the Joe Crowley Student Union such as Panda Express and Port of Subs are not a part of the meal trade program.

Resident District Manager of Nevada Dining Cody Begg surveyed students and found a problem with portability of eating on campus. The meal trade program was a way to fix this problem and dissatisfaction with the on campus dining experience.

“We are excited to provide the value and convenience they offer,” said Begg. “We are always trying to change, adjust and look at the program to move forward.”

Begg encourages student to download the “Dine On Campus” app. Students can check restaurants availability, give feedback, and see upcoming events sponsored by Nevada Dining.

Students using the meal trade program say it gives them access to healthier meals.

“NVDeli has really good salads,” said freshman Audrey Baier. “I think it’s healthier and fresher than the DC options.”

Students are also noticing a difference between meal plans between now and last year, and are enjoying the variety it provides for campus dining.

“The meal trade program is fantastic,” said sophomore Irshad Tabani, “I found myself using all of my swipes in a week instead of hoarding on to them for swipe out. It is a nice program and it creates variety because every day at the DC got boring last year.”

As someone who suffers with food allergies, freshman Gretchen Berg had some concerns about the lack of gluten free options. However, Berg does see it as a good idea if there are options for her diet.

Sophomore Andrews Ingram Estanes finds the program both good and bad. Estanes feels the new portion controlling aspect of the meal trade to be a positive, but the lack of variety to be a negative.

“Personally I see it as a good thing, but also as an inconvenience…in terms of portion control. [E]ver since meal trade a lot of sizes of the meals shrunk. I preferred swipe out…it gave me the opportunity to use my leftover swipes. Variety would improve the meal trade,” Andres Ingram Estanes, a sophomore said.

Freshman Cameron Banes feels that the program is not reaching its fullest potential due to the limited restaurants participating. According to Banes, he would be much more likely to participate in the program if more restaurants would take part — notably the restaurants in the Joe.

Taylor Johnson can be reached at on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.