Students hungry for food options

Illustration by JP Bernal


Illustration by JP Bernal
Illustration by JP Bernal

Food service could be returning soon to Amarillo College’s Washington Street Campus, so Zone bars, get back in our backpacks — there might be some new choices in town. In May 2011, AC made the executive decision to close down the cafeteria. The decision was based on the cafeteria’s inability to profit and the reported loss of $100,000 a year. At the time of the cafeteria’s closing, AC signed a contract with Custom Foods requiring that no permanent food service be established on campus. That contract is set to expire on June 1, 2017.Lynn Thornton, director of administrative services, said college officials recently met with Custom Foods to negotiate an agreement that would allow some sort of food service on campus.“There is currently an ‘RFP’ (request for proposals) out to see if there is anyone interested in providing the Washington Street Campus with food service through a food truck or a similar service,” Thornton said. “That service could start as early as Nov. 1, 2015.”We urge college officials to make the right decision about on-campus food options.As a child, one often is told the importance of eating right regularly and its correlation with success in school. We often are taught that healthy meals are vital for brain power and energy throughout the day.Currently, however, AC lacks sufficient healthy meal options. Students can find themselves hungry and in need of a healthy pick-me-up but left with nothing but lousy and bleak vending machine choices. This absence of sufficient food goes against what students have been brought up to think. Some people might retort that there are healthy vending choices and that students have the ability to bring food from home. But students find themselves busy with hefty course loads and should not have the added stress of wondering where they can obtain a convenient and sustaining meal.Furthermore, if students decide they will leave campus for lunch, they are left with the disappointment of losing their precious parking spots, which creates a whole new dilemma and added stress.Given the previous cafeteria’s poor financial performance, the decision to close it seems sensible; however, the cafeteria would not have experienced such loss if the food had been appealing and affordable. What most students want are quick, affordable, healthy and convenient meal options.College officials must keep this in mind when considering new proposals for on-campus food.One option for supplying it could be through inviting a variety of food trucks to park on campus. It would provide students with convenient choices and, if students failed to patronize a particular food truck, then it simply would not return. Without contract or obligation, the college would not experience loss and the students would benefit. Because AC is in the midst of a financial crisis due to shortages in state funding and a decline in enrollment, contracting with an on-campus food service could cause a potential loss of money because the college might have to guarantee the food service a specific amount of earnings. Food trucks do not pose the same risk. We also want to address the need for quality coffee on campus — as coffee is the lifeblood of many students. If students find themselves suffering from an extreme caffeine deficit, they can try the vending machine coffee — if you can even call it coffee. The brown liquid that reluctantly oozes out of a less than pristine spout can hardly pass as drinkable caffeine. While we applaud those who manage to swallow the unappealing, coffee-esque liquid from campus vending machines, we demand a higher-quality source of caffeination. West Texas A&M has Starbucks. Why don’t we? Now is the time for a well-thought-out solution to the campus food crisis. College officials, we’re hungry – and drowsy — so make the right choice.

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