Students Still Fighting For More Campus Cafeterias

By Ralfston Meek

Five Mercy campuses. Yet only three cafeterias. The White Plains campus is located in the residential retailing district. However, many students have to venture farther outdoors in order to get food due to the functioning cafeteria’s closure. On the other hand the Manhattan campus, located one block from Herald Square, services many students, but there is no cafeteria; therefore, students also have to venture outdoors for food.

Outraged volunteering students at the White Plains campus are now petitioning again to get the cafeteria re-opened, due to failures earlier this year when students themselves petitioned without the knowledge of the staff. In comparison to earlier this year, more students and some involved staff members are now petitioning.

Students feel the need to have a cafeteria for many reasons. Students in White Plains complain that on days when the weather is bad, they are unable to leave the building to go to Panera Bread and Company, McDonald’s, Subway, and the Galleria, due to the distance they have to travel.

During lunch hour, when the entire White Plains population flocks to these food areas, students have to stand in long lines waiting, and this takes up a lot of time. Students complained that it takes between ten to fifteen minutes to walk to Subway, ten to fifteen minutes to place their order, and another ten to fifteen to walk back to campus.

Renee Carter, a second semester sophomore, is one of the students who helped organize the volunteer petition earlier this year and is currently in the process of seeking volunteers for the second petition.

“I feel the need to help organize this petition because I am here almost every day, and I feel that as a college there should be a cafeteria. I find it hard to leave school to get food and walk back with it. I feel it wastes time, and on days when the weather is bad, I cannot leave the school,” says Carter. “By the time I get food and come back inside the building, the food is sometimes cold, or I am late for a class.”

Students who spend the entire day on campus sometimes have to starve themselves or grab a snack from the vending machine, which is not solid food to last them throughout the day. To use the vending machine students need to have change, and constantly students are asking others for change. The selections of snacks are minimal and students sometimes refuse to grab a snack. Students also complained that the vending machine sometimes malfunctions or it takes their money.

“When the weather is bad and I am unable to go out, I refuse to use the vending machine again,” says Carter. “I purchased a bag of Doritos and they were expired.”

For staff members and student workers, it takes a toll is on them more. Some work from 8 to 12 twelve hours and most likely have to venture out for food. Staff members and student workers feel the need to have the cafeteria re-open so that there will be no competition with the weather and their lunch break, which is usually an hour. Students studying all day in the computer lab or library have to take their food and eat early or get a snack from the vending machine and eat later.

Many classes taken are usually at night, and the working class students feel the need to have more available sources than sugar to keep them awake, especially, during an 8:30 to 11 p.m. classes. Students complain that during a ten-minute break, it would be easier to get food from the cafeteria than to select from the small amount in the vending machine.

Manhattan students have more available sources of food such as Mc Donald’s, KFC, Subway and Burger King, yet all are still considered “fast food.” They too only have vending machines. Students in Manhattan buy and eat at the same place they purchased food because there is no lunch area for them to eat; there are only chairs in the hallways and lobby on the sixth floor.

Many students in a 11:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. class and then a 2:50 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. class go throughout the day without eating. Since there is only a ten-minute gap between each class period, and the same for each break, that is not enough time for students to leave the building to get food and back.

“Next semester I am only taking one class because I don’t even have time to eat. Mercy needs to try and have a room where people can grab food and go,” said Louis Reed.

The students have claimed that they have yet to hear back from administration. The petition for the White Plains Cafeteria is currently pending.