ELAC improves food choices for students on campus

By Breanna Fierro

Temporary setback— Due to COVID-19 restrictions, ELAC Cafe and Grab n’ Go remains closed off from students and faculty. 

Students have encouraged East Los Angeles College’s administration to expand its food selection over many years to include new options: the student store, Grab n’ Go store, a new cafeteria and a variety of food trucks.

Throughout ELAC’s history, these stores were made to keep the students on campus interested with a variety of purchasing options.

Food, snacks and grocery items became a main priority throughout the years.

Since the 1940s, ELAC has experienced a variety of different food and beverage options.

One example is a macchiato café in 1997 that was owned and managed by Jonathan Choi.

Inspiration for the café came to him while he was a student and noticed a lack of cafes on campus at the time.

In 1971 ELAC dealt with a labor issue which prevented it from supplying a good amount of lettuce for students on campus.

This shortage caused outrage among the student community.

The shortage had students viewing the lack of lettuce on burgers as absurd as a meatless burger.

Alejandro De La Parra, a student and an employee, said he worked for five years on campus and thought about how his time there reflected on ELAC’s history.

De La Parra said there were days when the student store on campus consisted of the bare minimum, providing students with the basic necessities needed for their classes in a bungalow.

He said other days, the store would be so full that a line of students would wrap around the building.

This created chaos not only for the students waiting to purchase merchandise, but for those students around the bungalow as well.

This went on until the student store relocated to different bungalows behind the pool in D7, and then again to the final location in the present day, F9.

Like the student store, the cafeteria was also relocated from the G-Building to the H-Building near the observatory.

This didn’t help, and before long, the whole concept of a cafeteria was canceled altogether during that time.

This was until the final permanent location popped up alongside the student store and grab n’ go in the F-building, De La Parra said.

De La Parra said he was a cadet from 2005 to 2007 when ELAC had a food cart vendor.

The vendor would post up shop across from the pool to sell churros and individual pizza slices to students who were on their way to class.

“The cart looked like an ice cream cart with a heating window for the pizza, churros and filled with a bunch of other goodies. He was very popular,” De La Parra said.

He said the current construction happening at ELAC’s South Gate campus, is building a brand new student store across the street from its current location.

Former food truck vendor Ana I. Garcia said she had a lot of experiences while being with ELAC for a little over three years.

Garcia talked about the evolution of both the students and food when she was working on campus.

The truck menu had a tendency to change food items consistently, due to her creativeness and because students seemed to enjoy it.

Another perk for Garcia working on campus was the student interactions.

“If possible in the near future, I would like to work on campus again. The college campus, students and staff were amazing, kind and loving with us all and we would hope to be back soon,” she said.

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