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Food on campus: the solution

By now, it is almost cliché to complain about expensive food on campus. Yet, does anyone have a solution? I do, but let me first outline the problems that need to be addressed, as I see them.

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Date Posted: April 7, 2011
Print Edition: April 1, 2011

By Chris Bonshor (Copy Editor) – Email

By now, it is almost cliché to complain about expensive food on campus. Yet, does anyone have a solution? I do, but let me first outline the problems that need to be addressed, as I see them.

Firstly, buying fresh fruit and veggies on campus is impossible. The closest thing available from our friends at Sodexo in the cafeteria – and the Roadrunner Café – is a fruit cup or veggie platter for $4.25. What you get is about one or two servings of fruit or vegetables (one even has dip!). I mean, sure there is the convenience factor, but, as adults, do we really need to pay significantly more for baby carrots and to have our food cut up for us?

In the real world – that is, off-campus – to buy an apple or orange costs maybe $0.50 each, bulk. A banana is even less. So, unless you pick some crazy fruit that is out of season, there is no reason for fresh produce to cost so much. Yet, at our school, a serving or two of fruit costs eight times what an apple does. All of this money leaves the campus and goes into the Sodexo corporate structure. They can do what they like with whatever profits they make from their operations of campus, and their fruit and veggie products are all profit margin.

However, student money is not only wasted on food in the cafeteria. Whether you go there or not, Casey’s on Campus costs you money. This past fiscal year, ending April 1, the Student Union Society (SUS) subsidized our campus pub to the tune of $55,000. The year before, the cost to SUS for running the pub was $22,000 out of an operating budget of $650,000 (all of this information is freely available to the student public on the SUS website: SUS employees are also very helpful in filling any inquiries you might have). On the Casey’s facebook page they promise that the pub returns all profits to students. Instead of making good on their promise they are taking money from the SUS that could almost certainly be better used elsewhere – more SUS scholarships would be nice.

But it is not only that Casey’s is a business floundering in a sea of problems and wasting student money. As a pub for a commuter campus in a province that has increasingly harsh drinking and driving laws, Casey’s has a fundamentally flawed business. Outdated, I think, is a good adjective to describe it.

That said Casey’s does serve a useful function as a place for students to study in relative peace and quiet on a campus that is sorely lacking in study spaces. However, what if I could offer you a solution to all of these problems? Imagine: cheap, fresh, healthy food on campus, an end to the drain of Casey’s on SUS funds, and a relatively silent and larger study space for students.

Here is my solution to all of these problems: a fruit stand and study space for students in the space Casey’s currently occupies in the Envision Athletic centre. Imagine fresh, delicious produce – locally grown could also be emphasized: ever have an ambrosia apple from BC? Delicious! – sold at competitive prices to students whenever they are hungry enough, with the convenience of not having to buy it ahead of time at the grocery store and bring it with you. Pretty sure I just solved all of the world’s problems… I do it because I love.

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