Where’s the food on campus?

The Don Express has been closed since most classes went online in March 2020. Photo by Tanya Moore / el Don

It’s 8 a.m. on a Monday and my stomach is growling. No milk in the fridge so no cereal for breakfast today. I hop on the bus for the hour and a half ride to school. 

Get to school and the new Cafe 17 is closed due to electrical problems with brand new equipment. The Don Express is closed due to low foot traffic. And after being open for the first few weeks of the semester, the coffee cart Ooh La Latte is closed too.

Since I already used my free bag of groceries for the week, I can only grab a snack at the Thrive Center food pantry, but a granola bar is as good as it gets there. The only place left on campus to get anything to eat is the Quick Stop, a convenience store, where every day I see a line of students heating up Top Ramen noodles in the communal microwave.

By mid-day, I’m hungry for a hot, nutritious meal. Where’s the food? Preparing meals at home takes time, energy and money that I don’t have. But if I do not eat at least one good meal a day, I cannot function my best and my energy level gets so low that it’s hard to study.

This situation is worsening the issue of food insecurity already on our campus. According to a survey conducted by the Associated Student Government in 2019, more than half of all students reported choosing between buying food and purchasing other resources. About one in ten went without eating more than five times per term. 

I understand the cost of food is increasing and it doesn’t make a profit to serve a partially empty campus, but those of us here still have to eat. School officials should take a financial hit if that’s what it takes to ensure students are fed hot, healthy food. If SAC had good, affordable food, it would encourage students to stay on campus and may increase foot traffic. Perhaps we can expand the food pantry and have more nutritious food to choose from? I also want to encourage ASG to have more events where they can give out free food.

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The administration needs to put more time and effort into ensuring reliable food sources on campus. The health and productivity of students depends on it. 

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