Closed Cafeteria Vexes Students


Sok Kong, Staff Writer

As students walk inside the PUB’s main entrance, and head past the resident locker mailboxes, there is a small store called “Avanti Market” which is a place providing self-checkout, quick and easy access to fresh foods, salads, sandwiches, snacks and a variety of beverages. At the moment, the PUB is the only place that students can find food outside of vending machines.

As students enter the Avanti Market, there is a wall which blocks the other half of the room. Peering into the blocked side there is the remnants of what used to be a kitchen, a kitchen that served fresh hot food. This cafeteria has been closed for approximately five years now.

“I didn’t know that SCC used to have a cafeteria,” said Dayla Un, an international student from Cambodia, who is in her fifth quarter at SCC. Some students are surprised after hearing about how long the cafeteria has been shut for.

A lot of people assume that it was closed due to COVID-19, but it was not. “My understanding is that it was definitely closed before Covid, so I wanna say it was closed maybe in 2018,” said SCC President Jack Khan. This indicates that hot food hasn’t been available on campus for a while now.

The lack of hot food options on campus significantly impacts students’ overall experience since many students rely on campus facilities for meals because of their busy schedules. Avanti Market has limited options that can be inconvenient and potentially affect students’ productivity. Plus, it also dampens the social aspect of the college experience, as communal dining areas often serve as gathering spots for students to socialize and connect.

The closure of the kitchen in the PUB has been a crucial topic of concern for many students at SCC, and it was also mentioned during the ASG Presidential Open Forum 2023 by one of the candidates, Everett Lockhart. This absence of on-campus dining options has left students with limited choice when it comes to finding food during their time at college.

“I come to the campus often as I stay on campus and I have classes regularly on campus. I eat on campus at least once a week at the 9000 building, where we can buy our own food from the self service.” said international student, Joshua Fernandes, an International Student from U.A.E.

“I come to campus about 1-2 [times] a week. This quarter I don’t really eat at campus but in the past I usually would eat every time I was there because my schedule coincided with lunch.” said Savvy Mau, an honors student at SCC. She then continued, “It gets tiring always consuming cold foods.” Dalya Un had the same perspective toward the cafeteria issue in which she said, “It would be nice if there were a criteria at school [since] I think serving fulfilling food, not something like snacks, would be great.” This indicates that many voices are hoping for the return of more complete food on campus.

Additionally, Khan, also spoke up the reason behind that closure which said, “ It was just losing money, it won’t get enough revenues, so that is why they left.” It is worth noting that the kitchen was reportedly not generating enough revenue to sustain its operation. Therefore, this financial strain likely led to the decision to shut down the kitchen, leaving students without a source of hot meals on campus.

Compared to five years ago, the number of enrollment is increasing. With the rise of the number of students, there is a high demand for food. “The reason why the food things haven’t happened is just because we are trying to do them in order,” said Khan.

There are two things that the SCC administration is working on to bring it back to the college since it is mostly what students were appropriately asking, one is the hot coffee, the second one is food. “So we did what was called the Request For Proposal process, sometimes we said RFP. Because we are a state agency, you have to put out the proposal and then a group looks at those proposals, and then makes a recommendation based on this proposal, this is the best one for the college. For the coffee we started many months ago, but it just got stalled for a couple reasons, ransomware things, which also set it back, so our plan was to do coffee first, and then do food,” said Khan.

For those who are coffee biased, it will be great to have hot coffee available on campus, but hot food is not sufficient for those who despise coffee. Many voices are against the SCC administration because they can’t keep waiting for hot food to eventually come. Five years at a community college is potentially, two starving generations of college transfer students.

SCC has come up with a solution of returning food trucks on campus first, instead of bringing the cafeteria back. “We can have food trucks start coming to campus regularly a couple of times a week starting in the fall, [even though] it won’t totally solve our problems because we really need it everyday, but it will get us started with something,” said Khan. He also gave a sneak peak into the food truck situation, “My understanding is that it is a company where they rotate different [food trucks], so we get different varieties [of food]… It’s supposed to start in the fall, and it hasn’t been announced yet cause we just found out last week, but I will ask folks to put in an official announcement about it.”

First the administration will bring back hot coffee. Then, students will start seeing food trucks by fall quarter. But, there is no definite date to when the cafeteria is coming back to campus.