October 2021, Opinion, Previous Issues

With MLK closed, food options have worsened

This summer, Saint Augustine’s University began the P.R.E.E.N (Preparing to Remodel and Enhance to Execute our Needs) project. This project was created to renovate and revive many of our campus buildings, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Student center; upgrade our HVAC systems and lighting; create a new tailgating area; complete the Tuttle Community Center (Public Health Center); install new and improved Wi-Fi; and many outdoor improvements.

With these renovations occurring, the outdoor basketball court behind the Emery Gymnasium is now the new home of our cafeteria until renovations to MLK are complete.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Student center, also known as MLK, is the heart of our illustrious Saint Augustine’s University and the home of our cafeteria. Our temporary cafeteria consists of a mobile food truck where students can walk through, communicate to the café workers what they would like on their plate, grab and go.

There is an outdoor seating area for students to enjoy meals with their peers if they choose.

This new set up has been an extreme adjustment for students, faculty, staff and workers. With limited space in our temporary cafeteria, it is difficult to accommodate each student individually.

Although I commend the cafeteria workers for their extreme dedication, the food options could be of better quality.
Students have voiced their concerns about the condition of the cafeteria food, and still no changes have been made. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.

The meals are never a complete meal and, most days, there are not any healthy food options. The only healthy food option most days is a premade salad usually with withered lettuce and spinach. For example, a recent “meal” served was country fried steak with gravy, chicken nuggets, scalloped potatoes, and French fries.

More than ever before, students have been voicing their frustration and concerns about the cafe on different platforms, specifically the SAU app. Many students have different dietary needs, and some students have food allergies.
I recall one day at the start of this semester, the café served nothing but fish and shrimp. I have several peers who are allergic to seafood and were unable to eat anything served except for French fries.

One of my peers who wished to remain anonymous stated, “It is ridiculous that we aren’t given the option to pay for a meal plan. We pay $2,500 or more for food we are not able to eat, then have to spend money out of pocket to stock up on groceries for our rooms. We should be able to eat at the café and only have buy snacks for groceries. Instead, I have to buy full meals to cook or spend money to eat out.”

This is a similar concern of many students living on campus. As a solution, I feel a poll should be created for students to make meal suggestions that would be able to accommodate all students.

With this being done, it would give more of a variety and more filling and healthier meal options.

— Alyssa Berry