Students and faculty struggle with the cost of campus food
When the needle hits noon and the smell of bacon permeates the senses; flocks of students head for their favorite vendors at Cesar Chavez Student Center or food trucks at Hensill Hall.
While waiting in line at Café Rosso, Luis Chavez waved his head back and forth trying to get a good gauge of the food prices on the signs. When it came time to order, Chavez jokingly remarked to a fellow student about how the campus served “real food, but at unreal cost.” In the end, Chavez ended up purchasing a burger for $7.50.
“The food here is way too expensive since we already have to pay a boatload for books, tuition, transportation, and rent,” Chavez said. “I believe that students should have meal plans incorporated into the tuition since its already high enough.”
A majority of 30 students who were interviewed about campus food prices agreed with Chavez and believed the food pricing at SF State is too expensive.
Business Management major Julia Krevets said the cost of food on campus is ridiculous because it can rival that of the city.
“It’s obvious that they know the food is overcharged,” Krevets said. “They know we need food for survival, then they take advantage of us.”
Faculty and staff understand the price of food on campus. Amongst those who care about the pricing is Andrew Lok, who works for The University Corporation (UCorp) at SF State.
Andrew Lok, a Retail and Commercial Services Manager at the University Corporation is responsible for maintaining a balance between vendor and student cost. In addition, UCorp is in charge of maintaining a landlord and tenant relationship amongst 20 food locations on campus.
“The way we determine market rate for these vendors that file a Request for Proposal is by the location, visibility, size, capabilities within the space (provided) and accommodations,” Lok said. “We, however, allow vendors to determine the prices and provide them guidelines.”
UCorp also functions as a liaison between university student organizations such as Associated Students Inc. and faculty. UCorp maintains guidelines from faculty, and feedback on what students want in terms of cost or accommodations.
SF State Food Truck Coordinator Aaron Wills believes students have a good array of food offered at a fair price, including at the food trucks near Hensill Hall.
“We all have to eat, and we try to look for cost efficient ways to provide diversity for students,” Wills said. “I believe that the average cost of $10 is good for students because the portion sizes from the food trucks here on campus is good.”
ASI Legal Resource Center Assistant Director Julia Tapia believes SF State could do better in terms of offering more options for students.
“A lot of us only get minimum wage and a majority of that money already goes into rent, books and tuition,” Tapia said. “The cheapest option for food on campus might be Quickly, but the food isn’t entirely healthy, so if I feel like splurging then I would prefer to go to Shah’s Halal since the they offer something more substantial.”
UCorp works with student organizations annually, and offers a survey for students –– one of which includes a section that deals with food prices –– to voice their concerns.
“I believe the food pricing is ok for those who can afford it, but for a broke college student then it’s just too overpriced,” said Taylor Washington, a women and gender studies major.