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Community Colleges Lack Meal Plan

By Neal Falcone

College Students cannot pay for lunch because of high food prices at Community colleges. It has come to the attention of many staff members at the Ammerman Campus that many students have been going through school days without eating. This ultimately is a big ordeal because of the fact that students don’t have enough energy to stay awake in class and participate in class activities.
After talking to the Cashier at the Cafeteria she told me that “Typically students pay for lunch more often with credit cards then with cash”. This leads us to believe that most students do not always have cash on them which results in students not eating during their classes. When i asked Anna the cashier if she has ever had students come up to the register and not have enough money to buy lunch she answered “Students tell me that they don’t have enough money, but i think they have better things to spend it on”. College students typically do not have a lot of money because they have to pay for tuition, car payments, rent and other things other than Cafeteria food at College. Anna stated that she often notices a good majority of students bringing in bagged lunch to try and save money and still be energized and alert for class. For some time students at the Ammerman campus have taken action to produce a Meal plan at the Student Center Cafeteria. The cashier has shared with us that after working at two different community colleges within the past ten years that she has never heard of a Community college with a meal plan. Anna told us that only Universities with on campus housing participate in meal plans because most students on those campus’s do not have jobs.Students that go away to College have little options other than their on campus cafeteria due to the fact that most of them don’t have jobs and can’t afford to buy food from other places other then the cafeteria. Students at Suffolk county Community college had different opinions about adding a meal plan to our cafeteria. Donald Rice a current student at Suffolk Community College informed us that a meal plan would not be necessary at a community college because most students are not even present on campus for more than a couple hours a day. He has been enrolled in Suffolk Community College For three semesters and has stated “I have never eaten at the cafeteria on both Ammerman and Grant campus’s” even with a packed out schedule of 18 credits a semester. Another point that Donald brought up was that students who did not eat at the cafeteria would still have to pay extra for tuition for a meal plan they won’t ever use. Another student had a different opinion on whether or not we should create a meal plan at this school. This person requested to remain anonymous, she has been attending the Ammerman campus for two years and eats at the Cafeteria everyday. She informed me that out of five days a week of eating at the cafeteria four out of the five she uses her credit card to pay. ” I Just don’t have enough cash every week to feed myself at school, i have to use my card or else ill be hungry all day” said this student. She said that her and a couple of friends brought this idea to the student Government and they have yet to find an answer.
Presidents at the Ammerman campus has had little planning to create a Meal plan for students to use at the cafeteria, but with enough help and support students can find a way to make it happen. With the help of students and staff at the Ammerman Campus a meal plan can be created to help students be able eat throughout a long school day.

Behind the Dover Contract

By Thomas J. Johnson

For six years the students of Suffolk County Community College have had a single option of who to purchase food and drink from when eating on campus, Dover Hospitality Services.

Countless students have voiced their displeasure with Dover Hospitality Services, to the point where numerous open forums were held on campus for students, staff and faculty to air their grievances with the company in public. Though almost universally despised by students, Dover Hospitality Services still remains as the only option for student dining and catering for student organizations.

The College has been steadily licensing the food service space in the Babylon Student Center cafeteria for going on six years, and as of July 1, 2010 the agreement has been extended and additional 5 years to June 30, 2015.

The terms of the licensing agreements include many specific terms that Dover Hospitality Services was supposed to fulfill in order to maintain the license. However, it is unclear as to whether or not the obligations were fulfilled.

Most prominent of the aforementioned terms of the licensing agreement comes in the form of Exhibit A-1 of the agreement, wherein Dover Hospitality Services agreed to “complete the renovations to the food service facility no later than January 17, 2010.” If not fulfilled, the college “may withdraw its permission to the five-year renewal term.”

A representative for Dover Food Services could not be reached for comment to confirm or deny whether or not said renovations were completed as per the licensing agreement.

However, numerous student workers that had been employed in the Babylon Student Center over the last 3 years all stated that no visible change has been made. “If they [Dover Hospitality Services] were working on it, I sure didn’t see or hear anything” said former Student Worker and Dover Hospitalities Services Employee Jennifer Chiodo.

It is unclear as to whether or not other food service options were considered, as the information pertaining to bids had not been released. James Amoroso, Vice President of Business and Financial Services could not be reached for comment.

The college’s move to renew was still a financial sound one according to official documents, which explains why Dover Hospitality Services will continue to operate in the space.

For example, according to official license agreement documentation, during the initial 5 year period from 2005-2010 Dover Hospitality Services agreed to pay exorbitant fees to the College. Among the terms, Dover Hospitality Services agreed to make a minimum of $270,000 in “capital improvements,” an annual payment of $25,000 “in lieu of the sale of pouring rights” in addition to paying the College commissions of 11-12 percent of the gross sales of food services, 15 percent on catering sales and 28 percent on sales made through vending machines.

Dover Hospitality Services’ requirement to pay the College taking a 11-28 percent commission on its sales undoubtedly has a large effect on the pricing on food in the cafeteria and vending machines, which average higher than food and vending services at other campuses and establishments, which has been one of the student body’s chief complaints about the company. “The food in the machines is way too expensive… If they were cheaper, like most other vending machines, I’d actually buy stuff from them.” said Liberal Arts major Kerri Dinofrio, 19.

With the company exerting it’s stranglehold on the college community for the last five years and the foreseeable future, it seems that whether or not the public likes Dover Hospitality Services will have no affect or influence on the College’s decision to keep them as the primary food proprietor on campus.

Additionally, with the mountain of fees Dover Hospitality Services pays the College for it’s license to operate in the space, on top of the massive cut that the College takes in commissions from the company, it seems unlikely that they will drop them and go with a different alternative.