By Dylan Dixon
An update regarding construction on campus was posted to the ELAC website in June of 2014. In the update, a section for Campus Student Center/Book Store Complex said the project was approximately 38 percent completed at that time, and the budget for that portion of the campus were to cost $26,565,056.00.
With a $26 million budget, shouldn’t it seem like we should have at least a little more to eat than Hot Pockets and basic salads?
The cafeteria portion of the center has a large open area for people to sit, eat their meals and possibly do school work. However, if one were to enter the small cubby that could be called a kitchen, only Hot Pockets, burritos and other frozen, microwavable meals are found. In addition, several plastic containers with a handful of lettuce and chopped tomatoes are for sale.
ELAC Cafeteria has its own Facebook page, but it is unknown if it is an official campus-ran page. On said page, Facebook user, Michael Cooper, posted a photo of two empty baskets with a small sign reading: “Bananas $1. Apples 2 for $1.” Along with the photo, Cooper had added caption saying, “These baskets have been empty for two weeks. I think they’re just for decoration.”
The bookstore sells several snacks such as various brands of chips, candy and drinks.
There is also a small area within the building that sells the largest amount of edible items on campus (excluding the food truck). In the hallway-esque room, several brands of chips, crackers and candy are for sale. Numerous types of hummus, nuts and drinks are also available. They also provide smoothies and coffee for a fee.
However, if a student is attending East Los Angeles College for the entire day, I doubt a bag of nuts, a candy bar and a bottle of juice would suffice for a nutrient, wholesome meal.
A food truck is on campus nearly every day, but I would assume the food would grow tiresome after having it every day.
Other community colleges have more variety than a food truck and a snack shack. Even my middle school had more variety and wholesome meals.
For example, when I attended Santa Monica College, we not only had a Starbucks on campus, but a large cafeteria with several places to get actual meals. Students could build a salad at the salad bar, order unique sandwiches, burritos and bowls and had their choice of dozens of meals.
Selling snacks at ELAC is not a bad thing; snacks are an easy way to slightly hold ourselves over for a brief moment, especially if we’re in a hurry. However, if a student is forced to go to a food truck every day, or walk down the block only to spend too much on lunch, questions might be raised.
Such as, why does my school have a brand new cafeteria with an empty kitchen, and only sells snacks?
Some students are only on campus for one or two classes, but others are here all day and deserve a wholesome and healthy meal, and ELAC appears to have the resources to provide that. For the sake of future students, let’s find the food.