The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR SGA working to find inexpensive lunch options

By Erin Ratigan/tr news editor

Collegian file photo  The TR Campus Student Government Association and Educational Catering Inc. have been working together since January to try to improve the food prices in the Riverfront Cafe.
Collegian file photo The TR Campus Student Government Association and Educational Catering Inc. have been working together since January to try to improve the food prices in the Riverfront Cafe.

The TR Campus Student Government Association and Educational Catering Inc. have been working to improve the price of food in the cafeteria.

In January, the SGA chose three topics to address throughout the spring semester, one of which was the high cost of food sold on campus. Members formed a committee with ECI, which manages the coffee shop and Riverfront Cafe, to address the issue.

SGA parliamentarian Ashley Cain, who is in charge of the project, said students have voiced concern about food prices on several occasions.

“In my experience sitting at the SGA open forum table,” she said, “I have had more students approach me about food prices than parking.”

ECI has lowered prices by offering weekly specials in the cafeteria and adding a value menu. Cain said Taco Tuesday has been one of the most popular deals.

“Just recently, [ECI manager] Dean [Combs] and ECI have added nachos to the coffee shop menu,” she said, “which provides a hot food option to students after 2 p.m. when the cafeteria closes.”

Combs said several cafe value meals were the result of collaborations between ECI and the SGA. These include the Thursday sandwich special.

“We talked about trying to come up with daily combo specials and having an additional variety at a reduced cost,” he said. “We came back and formatted a $5 combo with a sandwich, chips and a drink.”

The SGA has also worked with the bookstore, which offers prepared meals.

“We’ve found that the bookstore offers lunch items at a very competitive price,” Cain said. “We’ve found that there are lower-cost food options on campus. The key is just knowing where they are.”

Combs said students are often concerned with food prices because of their financial struggles. He said he has spoken to students and found many receive financial aid.

“The money they have for disposable income is not a lot,” he said. “A lot of them have bills just like everyone else, so [saving money] is important.”

However, he said finding ways to cut costs can be challenging.

“It’s a little difficult because with the prices of everything going up, it’s difficult for me to find things that are cost-effective,” he said.

Any meals not sold in the Riverfront Cafe are taken to the coffee shop and sold at reduced prices 2-7 p.m. Combs said this makes eating on campus a cheaper and more viable option for evening students.

“They’re bound to find something they would like and would be pocket-friendly,” he said.

Nonetheless, even with the value menu, many students say they find the cafe overpriced.

TR student Reymond Mendoza said the prices are “really high,” and he usually brings lunch to school to save money.

“Three chicken strips and a handful of french fries is like five bucks,” he said.

Mendoza said he is aware of the specials but is not interested in them.

“It really depends, but most of the time I already have something set,” he said. “Usually, what they have on sale isn’t what I want.”

Oliver Lewis, a member of TREE, the TR Campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender club, said she frequents the cafeteria because she gets a club discount.

“I think it’s like 10 percent off,” she said. “I like the little parfaits and things they have.”

Ordering small portions has saved her money, she said, since entrees are often more expensive.

Cain said the SGA and ECI will continue to work together to improve food costs.

“Our job, first and foremost, as student government representatives is to advocate for the students,” she said. “As long as we hear concerns, we will work to address the issues.”

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