April 2024, News & Features

Cafeteria closing results in outpouring of food donations

Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) has recently found a unique way to satisfy its students’ cravings and keep their bellies full. Thanks to a generous donation, students now receive $30 gift cards to popular fast-food chains like Chick-fil-A, Bojangles’, Subway, Five Guys, and more every Monday. But that’s not all; the rest of the week offers a delightful change of pace with local churches stepping in to cater meals, providing students with two plates of food daily from Tuesday to Friday.

Dean Janelle Watts, dean of students, has been using student email to keep students in the loop about how they will be fed for the next few weeks. Word spread like wildfire across campus, and soon, students lined up eagerly to obtain food and gift cards to buy food from other places. 

For many students like Ryan Spruill, this new arrangement has been a welcomed change. “It may not be the cafe, but at least we get better food,” remarks Spruill, capturing the sentiment of students who have grown tired of the usual cafeteria fare.

Keenan Lowndes, however, reminisces about the camaraderie that came with dining at the university cafe. “I miss being able to go to the cafe and eat and socialize with my peers,” says Lowndes, highlighting the social aspect that comes with shared meals.

The shift to fast-food gift cards and local church-catered meals is a testament to the university’s commitment to providing students with diverse dining options. While the cafe might be missed by some, the variety now available ensures that students can enjoy a mix of familiar fast-food favorites and home-cooked meals throughout the week.

Local churches have risen to the occasion, offering students a taste of community alongside their meals. This partnership not only supports local businesses but also fosters a sense of unity and belonging among students and the wider community.

The $30 gift cards on Mondays offer students the flexibility to choose their preferred fast-food joint, whether it’s a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A or a classic sub from Subway. Meanwhile, the meals provided by local churches from Tuesday to Friday introduce students to a range of homemade dishes, each reflecting the unique flavors and traditions of the community.

In a time where dining options have been limited for many, Saint Augustine’s University has found a creative way to nourish both body and spirit. With a blend of fast-food convenience and local culinary flair, students are treated to a dining experience that’s both satisfying and enriching.

As the university continues to adapt and innovate, one thing is clear: the spirit of community and the joy of good food remain at the heart of the SAU experience.

Anthony Barett, a graduating senior and former student athlete who actively used the cafeteria as a means for food. “This is so unfortunate for our university.” He expressed. “But they have not given up on us yet, and that’s what matters to me.”

— Lee Sales and Christina Black