Students Question Costs of Food

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Hanna Frank, Contributor

Many college students are hungry and broke, and it seems instead of budget-friendly meals on campus, Lewis University and Sodexo are offering skyrocketing prices and shrinking portions.

Prices vary all over campus and seem to vary from meal to meal, even when ordering the same thing.

At The Den, one can enjoy a kid’s size burger for four dollars. That doesn’t include cheese, that’s an extra dollar or so.

Breakfast at Charlie’s seems to be the only decently priced meal on campus with good portions. It’s almost odd, the difference in price between breakfast and lunch. Then again, breakfast is one of the few buffet style meals Lewis offers and many students aren’t even up early enough to take advantage.

While resident students are using, what many call  “Lewis money,” and getting a deal with meal plans, they forget that student loans are paying for their lunch and that they will be paying for that Sodexo PB&J sandwich six months after graduating.

Moreover, Lewis has many commuting students paying with “real” currency and are penalized for not using the commuter meal plan by having to pay tax, which can easily add on an extra two dollars.

Sure, the commuter meal plan sounds good in theory, but for some non-resident students, committing cash to a food plan isn’t a safe financial move. Those students need to have money to use off campus for food, gas and other living expenses.

“I’ve thought about money on my ID, but then I get worried that I might need that cash to put gas in my car or buy food while at work,” said Jackie Bianchi, junior finance major. “It makes me nervous putting my money somewhere I can’t use in other places or even get it back.”

For a commuter, a sandwich at The Courtyard comes out to be roughly seven dollars with tax. Adding soup or chips to go with it would raise the price to the double-digit territory.

On the university’s website it says, “Lewis University and Sodexo Food Services have created one of the most flexible food programs available on any college campus.” However, many students have yet to experience some of that flexibility as their hunger is creating holes in their pockets.

“The cost of food here is so expensive,” said Bianchi. “I’ve had to cut work hours to take my classes, so losing even more money to eat before class has been frustrating.”

Recently an article in the Washington Post shared the struggle that many college students are having with finding money to eat.

A problem known as “food insecurity” has become an increasing problem for American students and some universities are attempting to help these young adults. Some schools have opened food pantries and donation funds to help feed students with little money for food.

“Campuses across the country are starting to realize that there is that sector of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Nate Smith-Tyge, director of the Michigan State University student food bank, in an interview with the Post. “It’s not only a moral issue but also a curricular and academic issue.”

Lewis may not have plans in the works for free food for qualifying students, but larger portions for leftovers or extending the tax break to commuters could relieve some of the student’s financial stress.

“Even just coupons would be nice,” said Bianchi. “Every bit helps, just anything to reduce the cost.”

Hanna Frank

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