On-campus food options don’t work for students
As I was introduced to life at the University of Idaho, I quickly learned that a diet made up of food from the Idaho Commons food court was not a sustainable plan for a normal student.
Not only is the food offered in the Commons not the healthiest, but it’s also not good for student wallets.
With most students living on a tight budget, buying food on campus every day can quickly add up.
It may not seem like much at the time of purchase, a few dollars for a coffee or an afternoon bagel, but with weeks spent on campus it can turn into a major expense. What is more astounding than the prices is the fact that vendors on campus actually get steady business.
Instead of looking toward on-campus food options, students should prepare their lunches at home and carry snacks during the day. Preparing food at home is often cheaper and healthier than the pizza, sandwiches and americanized Asian food found in the commons.
Students can also look to food options outside of campus if they are displeased with the quality or price of the on-campus options. In reality, most students resort to buying food at the commons when they’re in a time crunch and do not plan their meals ahead of time.
With limited food preparation space in the dorms, on-campus students might have a more difficult time making food on their own.
Vendors rely on students to have busy schedules and not take the time necessary to prepare meals to eat during the day. It’s steady business for on-campus vendors, but it doesn’t do much for a student’s wallet or waistline.
To be fair, there are a few places in the commons students can go to get healthier options, but there are still few items on the menu that are sustainable to an average student’s budget.
If vendors were to lower their prices even slightly, they would almost instantly see a spike in their customer base.
This would be a win-win situation. Not only would students save more on their meals, but the vendors would increase their revenue because of the extra business.
After my freshman year, I limited my purchases in the commons to just coffee at Einstein’s — and even then I keep my interactions to a minimum. But if I were suddenly given the option to spend money on food, I would probably take a little more time perusing the menus.
Most college students enjoy a good meal, but all college students prefer the cheaper option compared to the more expensive one.
Erin Bamer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org