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Hungry for more?

Lack of cafeteria, food options leave students in nutritional limbo

By Brian Boyle, news editor
On February 17, 2014

  • English professor Rafaella Del Bourgo won first, second and third place in the Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Contest presented by the Bay Area Poets Coalition on Feb. 2. George Morin / The Advocate

Students at Contra Costa College have a large list of restaurants available to them when lunchtime rolls around. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these options are off campus.
A hungry student at CCC who wants to eat on campus has three choices - Subway, Three Seasons, or buying snacks at the Bookstore. Lines in the Bookstore, lines at Subway and the large rush of students into Three Seasons and the Express Café illustrate the desire for, and the necessity for, campus food options.
Although students eagerly eat at the restaurants on campus, variety is high on the list of student demands.
Psychology major Kilber Molina said, "I eat at Subway probably two times a week, and it's a fair price, but I'd really like to see more options."
Ronald Argueta, an automotive technology major who also eats at Subway twice a week, said, "The Subway is pretty much the same as it is everywhere, but the price is a little higher. I'd really like to see more places to eat on campus."
The lack of options on campus can be traced back to the old cafeteria that existed before the demolition of the Student Activities Building.
Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong said that when the college was originally accepting bids for the contract to provide food for the campus, one of the requirements was that any vendor interested in selling food must use their own money to set up the cafeteria. The restaurant that would service the campus would be responsible for making sure everything was up to code and sanitary.
"When the vendors were informed of the expenses they would have to incur in order to operate on campus, most of them completely backed out," Magalong said. "In the end, only Subway and another vendor were interested, and Subway's prices were much less expensive."
Before construction began, Subway generated a small revenue stream for the college through a commission of their profits.
Though Subway continues to serve the college, now that construction has relocated the Subway on campus to the small, modular truck near the Bookstore, that revenue stream has dried up.
"We extended Subway's contract to the end of construction," Magalong said. "A part of their contract, though, is that we would forgo the commission if they provided the capital for the truck themselves."
This decision was made in order to continue to provide students with a options on where to eat on campus.
When construction finishes in three years, students at CCC could have a much different outlook on eating on campus.
When construction ends, Three Seasons will be located in the new cafeteria, which will also have room for two other vendors to sell food to students, Magalong said.
"When the new cafeteria opens we will have to redo the bidding process, to see who can operate on campus," she said.
Business administration major Ben Martin said, "I was surprised they had a Subway here, but I never eat on campus." 

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