Living in the Dorms? Welcome to the Food Desert

photo courtesy of Pexels via https://www.pexels.com/search/desert/

photo courtesy of Pexels via https://www.pexels.com/search/desert/

Resident hall students without personal transportation are finding it difficult to purchase groceries. The Brighton-Henrietta area has many options for grocery stores and eateries but none of them are within walking distance of the school.

There are available options for students without their own vehicle. Students may either pay for a service such as Uber or Lyft, take an RTS bus, or hitch a ride with someone else. Many students cannot afford to frequently use Uber or Lyft, the RTS busses require a lot of time and patience, and carpooling isn’t always available with the busy schedules of college students.

Delivery is also an option. If a student is tired of ordering pizza or Chinese they may use Grubhub to have food delivered from a number of restaurants in the area. Wegmans has a partnership with Instacart, which allows students to have groceries delivered to them. These are all viable options, but they can be pricey.

Sodexo, which is MCC’s food service, offers various options but can also be very limiting, especially for those who live on campus year-round. For one, it can be pricey without using financial aid or a food plan. Secondly, it is closed on the weekends, which forces resident hall students to use the options listed above.

The Sodexo also prohibits students from having food delivered to them while it is in service. This means that from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Fridays, Sodexo is one of the only sources of food for students on campus. “I wish they had new options available every now and then”, says resident hall student, Ashley Price.

Sodexo currently offers Sushi, Chinese bowls, traditional American food, Chipotle-style dishes, quick foods such as sandwiches, salads, and parfaits, as well as Subway and Dunkin Donuts. Though these options can be great once in a while, many students feel as though they get bland after only having those options for an entire year.

The student-run restaurant Food for Thought is also an on-campus option, but it does not accept financial aid money and is only open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Shavonna Brooks, a first-year student, states that Food for Thought “should be open longer” to accommodate those with tight schedules.

Tydarius Young, a second-year student agrees with this statement by saying that Food for Thought is basically the saving grace of this school when it comes to food. It is affordable, healthy and pretty much everything on the menu is delicious. The only issue is that it’s only open for a short time and if you miss that gap of time you pretty much have to go to Sodexo”.

Resident hall students share common complaints regarding the “Food Desert” and have offered a few suggestions for MCC to aid those without a car. Jacob Fratina says “I think they should have a weekly transport that takes students who don’t have a car to get what they need for the week”. Price adds on to this statement by saying “And in order to ride the bus the student should have to show their MCC ID so they don’t get charged for having to ride the bus”. Young believes that “students who have night classes should have a place on campus to go for food after 5 p.m. Ideally, this would mean a buffet type area on campus where students can come in and get something for dinner…This could be as simple as just having Sodexo open later”.

Overall, students who live on campus believe that traveling off campus is difficult and often times stressful when dealing with a tight budget. Many feel as if MCC should do more to aid those without their own transportation by offering more time-saving and cost-effective means of purchasing food.

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