Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Field Report: Food

    Two major Bay Area community college newspapers — City College of San Francisco’s The Guardsman, and the Peralta Colleges’ Laney Tower — have joined together to compare and contrast different kinds of campus services, and draw attention to how much these schools have to offer their students and thus how important it is to keep these services alive. Community colleges are resources for learning, job skills, and earning credits toward transfers. They also offer vital resources like health services, food banks, and showers. City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has created a program that expands on its role in the life of students who are homeless or housing insecure.

    Introduction

    The meal options available at college campuses can make or break the student experience because: Students need food to focus.

    Laney College and City College of San Francisco have students on campus at many times of day, and it can be a struggle to find healthy or complete meal options.

    What’s available on campus?

    Laney College has three different food venues on campus, which include the Student Center cafeteria, The Laney Bistro and the bookstore.

    The centrally located Laney cafeteria is open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., but has recently extended its hours to be open from 3–6 p.m. for the convenience of students with evening classes.

    Monday to Thursday breakfast is from 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:15 until 12:45 p.m. The cafeteria offers a hot grill station with burgers, as well as a hot line with pre-made hot meal options, and lastly a cold sandwich bar.

    Although there are many dietary options represented, the windows of operation for these full meals are short, and accessibility may be limited due to the high volume during service; so, if students miss these windows, they can usually choose pre-made meals (salads/sandwiches) from the ice tray until they sell out.

    After service hours, options become fewer-hot drinks, snacks, yogurt, energy bars, cups of noodles and beverages are the bulk of what can be found outside of the student-run components of the cafeteria. Thus so, it seems the campus lacks access to complete meals with versatility.

    For those willing to indulge themselves in a restaurant-style meal, the Laney Bistro, facing part of the Oakland Estuary adjacent an organic garden (which provides produce for the Bistro). Salads, burgers, and a rotating menu of international gourmet dishes are offered.

    Its prices are not that much more than found in the cafeteria — from $6 for a salad to $11 for the salmon fillet. Its doors are open Monday — Friday from 11:45 a.m., until 1:00 p.m., and offers restaurant-style seating and waiter service.

    The menu items are also available on a to-go basis.

    City College has many food venues and snack stops.

    City Colleges Pierre Coste Chef’s Table is run by the culinary department where students cook and provide waiter service.

    The establishment offers salads and hot meals with prices varying from $6 to $15; however, there’s a tight schedule, with operating hours from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

    The main Ocean campus bookstore has assorted salads, sandwiches and packed foods (Monday — Thursday 7:45 a.m. — 7 p.m. and Friday until 4 p.m.). During the beginning of the semester, the store opens on some Saturdays.

    Despite the constant claims that both schools don’t offer healthy alternatives, Ron, a team member at the Ocean bookstore, said: “They [students] buy the food from here because it’s cheaper and no one complains about it.”

    To accommodate students on the vast grounds of the Ocean campus, Swell Food Cart is also on campus and is open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Offering only coffee and baked goods, it is highly utilized by students.

    The Lunch Box, located close to Batmale Hall, offers a diverse selection from breakfast items to Asian-inspired dishes, pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches and pastries. This establishment closes for service at 7 p.m., making options difficult for night students.

    Food may also be hard to come across if one has midday or evening classes at City College Ocean Campus, because the main food facility, known as City Slice, closes its doors at 1:15 p.m. and the cafeteria closes at 1:30 p.m., but is open again for a short period of time for dinner from 5–6:30 p.m.

    Hot water issues at Laney Student cafeteria

    Healthy issues go beyond packed meals, as Laney College recently had to close its main cafeteria for three days, Dec. 4–6, and possibly longer due to the lack of hot water which is necessary to running a food establishment and this resulted in the Student Center cafeteria unable to open for service. “Due to health code, we can’t make food here. The control panel that manages the boiler needs to be repaired and hopefully by Thursday (Dec. 7) it will be back to normal,” said Scott Strong, Director of Food Services.

    On a typical day, however, Laney’s food options are easily accessible; on the other hand, City College’s Ocean campus is sprawling, and traversing the campus for food is time-consuming.

    “When I was a student here, it was more efficient both cost-wise and logistically to bring my own food,” said Jose Zimmirano, a former CCSF student. The student lounge on campus exhibited a fair amount of students doing just that.

    The room offered microwaves for student use, as well as a health food vending machine, with options like fruit juices, fresh salads, yogurt, and meat jerky strips.

    City College’s City Café is currently closed for renovations, but students re-heating home-cooked meals utilize the lounge around its location.

    The Ocean campus offers more options than Laney College, especially when it comes to easily accessible off-campus food options.

    A multi-ethnic gastronomic pool surrounds the Ocean campus. The restaurants include McDonald’s, Beep’s Burgers, Quan Pho Viet (a Vietnamese noodle house), Pokihub (a Japanese seafood restaurant) and Pakwan (Halal Indian and Pakistani fare), and lastly, a Whole Foods, all within a 5-to-10-minute walk from campus.

    Laney’s closest restaurants are at least 10 minutes in all directions, with the exception of a few hot dog vendors that hover near campus.

    On Fridays from 5 p.m. — 9 p.m., however, Off-the-Grid food trucks line up on 10th St. adjacent to the Oakland Museum of California, just across from campus and offer a variety of fare.

    Jasmine Howell, Barbara Muniz

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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