College provides the luxury of dining halls and meal plans. One problem that many UC Berkeley students run into, however, is having more meal points than they can spend towards the end of the semester. Much to my surprise, there are many more ways to spend them than buying three coffee mugs at The Den. Here's a list of four alternative ways to spend extra meal points. 

1. Swipe other people in

coffee, wine, beer
Kimberly Kao

The dining hall food may get boring sometimes, but it is a luxury taken for granted. Many upperclassmen miss the convenience of having food prepared for them, especially at late night. Also, many students are food insecure, so they struggle to afford food. Treat people who don't have meal points to a grand dining hall experience.

2. Try every place 

pizza, coffee, beer
Kimberly Kao

Everyone knows these basic dining halls. But did you know there are hidden gems? Brown's Cafe made the list of must-go-to's. Terrace Cafe is a great study space on top of Bechtel, and you can grab a cup of tea or coffee on level F in Dwinelle at Common Grounds on your way. You can also use your meal points at Pro Shop in the RSF. Who knew!?

3. Donate items 

Kimberly Kao

One of the best ways on how to spend extra meal points is by giving them to someone in need. There is a box at Cub Mart in Foothill where the cashier will ask you if you'd like to donate something. You can then choose to buy items like hand sanitizer, tampons, shampoo, and sunscreen to place in a box that will be given to the population at People's Park.

4. Donate food

chicken, egg
Jocelyn Hsu

CalDining encourages students to donate their meal points towards the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, which then provides food for food insecure students

Meal points are definitely a luxury, but not the easiest system in college. Instead of buying three identical mugs from the Den for your family, try using these tips to spend the rest of your meal points creating a bigger impact in the community.