OPINION: By Lauren Herr
When you walk into the Marketplace on St. Catherine University’s campus, the options range from fruit to chips to microwavable dinners; anything you want is there for the taking. With all these different options, there is one similarity: most prices are higher than store value. If you are a commuter student then you are required to purchase $100 worth of points per semester. However, $100 does not go far if you need to purchase a meal every day. Also, some commuter students may have more financial responsibilities than tuition. Having to pay for a very expensive meal on campus can become another financial stress. If you are a resident with a meal plan, you might fear running out of points for the year. Some students rely on those points for not only food but other necessities such as toilet paper or shampoo. If students have to stress over if they have enough points for the year then they might not be focusing on their academics as much as they need to.
Christy Upton, English major, ’18, and also a commuter student stated, “I don’t eat on campus as much as I would like. I try and save my points for emergencies. I only have $100 for the year. I have less than 40 points left.” As a commuter, deciding between eating on campus or to save your points for another time can be a huge issue.
Additionally, the food that is the most expensive on campus seems to be the healthy options. Why choose the healthy option when the unhealthy one is so much cheaper? “It’s like $3 for a little, tiny package of blueberries,” stated Katherine Laak, English major, ‘18. Not to mention that a bottle of soda is one of the cheapest things you can buy. Our healthy options on campus are few and far between and when they are available, they are expensive for those who have limited points. “I can buy a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for less than a dollar. A kombucha is at least $2.50, typically closer to $3. At school they are almost $5,” stated Upton.
Recently, St. Kate’s has implemented the Food Insecurity program where students who are food insecure are able to get the food they need. However, additional students may begin to look towards this resource because of the extremely expensive food provided on campus, such as paying $7 for a box of cereal in the Marketplace. St. Kate’s should recognize the food insecure students on campus and lower the prices of food across the board. Our goal should be less and less food insecure students over time; not more.