Why College Cafeterias Should Provide Grocery Items

By Katie O'Brien

As a broke college student, I spend a lot of time eating at the school cafeteria because I can’t really afford to do much else. Don’t get me wrong, the food at Gustavus is good! The only problem is the fact that once you start eating the same thing over and over again, you want something else. Sure, you can either walk or drive a few blocks to the nearest grocery store, but that’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially when you go to college in Minnesota. On a hill. The roads and sidewalks get pretty icy and it can get bitterly cold. I know that’s not a very good excuse, but it’s not exactly the most pleasant experience. Why would we walk all the way down the hill if we can stop by the cafeteria on campus and buy some eggs and sugar? You spend the money you’re paying for food, and it’s nice and close. I asked my friends from other colleges, who mentioned that they also don’t have an option to buy basic staple foods and things you find at grocery stores. They don’t have the option to make their own food unless they go out of their way to make it.

There are lots of benefits to having a grocery store option at colleges. First, it gives you another option besides cafeteria food. Sometimes you want a little break from eating chicken everyday, to not eat pasta four times a week because nothing else looks good, and scrambled eggs can only get you so far in the morning. You could try out a new recipe or try and make a meal your mom makes at home when you’re feeling especially homesick. Second, cooking for yourself is an important life skill to have. Once you graduate, you aren’t going to have someone making and serving you food whenever you want. You have to make it yourself. Ramen and macaroni and cheese isn’t something you can live off of. Constantly eating out isn’t all that healthy. College teaches a lot of important skills, why not learn something else while you’re at it? Third, it would still make the college money. It might take away from cafeteria sales, but if it’s all going to the same place in the end, how bad could this option be? Fourth, I am aware of the fact that kitchens might be chaos. It would take a lot of extra work to make sure the kitchens stay clean. This could be an option for more student employment. Students need it more than you’d think.

Like everything else, there are some negatives to this idea, but there are a lot of positives as well. If we’re thinking about student well being, this could be a great thing. There are benefits for the college as well. A lot of things in life have turned into convenience, why not put a little bit of productive convenience into the mix?