Photo: Silas / Mainstream

The cafeteria closure this summer led to some students protesting with a failed petition while others shrugged it off. But the need for a place to sit, relax and study while eating is ongoing.

“It was nice place to sit and talk. Good food,” said George Turner, a second year UCC student.

Connor, another student, added, “The close was disheartening because it was a place to relax and get food.”

Some students decided to stand their ground and rounded up some votes for a petition, which failed to circulate among the entire student body. The petition itself then ultimately failed.

 Turner, like many other students, was unaware of the petition, “If there was a way I could have saved it, then I would have.”

The reason for the closure had to do with economics, as the June 2019 proposal to the UCC board explained. In the year 2018 the cafeteria lost over $16,900 and with the losses from the year before, the school was in a deficit of $27,754. The school had accordingly only been able to keep the cafeteria open by subsidizing it with the book store’s finances. But due to less books being purchased from the store as compared to online, the school could not justify keeping the cafeteria open. By replacing it with the food center the new revenue can be used to expand and upgrade the school’s various programs.

Many students may not have enough time to travel to a nearby fast food restaurant or market, but the UCC board had an answer for this. They put together a small food center, with a couple bonuses, which are all located in the same room: a book store, coffee hutch and the Rogue Credit Union.

However, the solution has not pleased everyone.

Connor added to his previous quote with, “The student center is often a little too crowded.” Although the center is a little smaller, it provides a larger variety of meal options with things such as hot dogs, polish dogs, a variety of bagels, Turkey provolone, baked chicken, and two slices of pizza.

In addition to the options of food choices above, bookstore donuts and croissants can be a quick bite to eat and accompanied with various kinds of coffee.

UCC surveyed students and staff to get suggestions concerning the cafeteria change. The most common suggestion was to bring in food trucks. The weight of the suggestion on the school board is unknown, but what is known is that they supplied a way to provide food through their food center.

A couple of other suggestions included better advertising of meals available, daily specials, and pro-vending by allowing small markets to exist. The food center now has increased hours by being located in the same building as the book store.

The Rogue Credit Union, who has partnered with UCC, is located in the book store/food center and is, “staffed by Member Service Representatives that are UCC students,” according to UCC’s website.

The Credit Union offers students a possibility for a loan, regular withdrawals, transfers and payments, all accessible through their membership, which comes with 24/7 online service (upfront hours are 9 am through 4pm) and “shared account options”. Some students were inspired to fight for their cafeteria, but were answered with a no and with what some consider an inferior satisfaction to the pallet, health, and personal space. The new small center brings a cup of joe, easily accessible books, banking, and multiple food options all in one area.