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

Campuses lack food options on weekends

By Brandy Voirin/reporter

It’s 8 a.m., and NE student Kearon James must decide between the vending machine delicacies of Skittles, shortbread cookies filled with raspberry jam or Cheetos puffs to provide her seven hours of brain nourishment.

The choice to take a weekend college class was easy for James, but deciding on breakfast is a different story.

“I normally look for a fruit option, but as the semester goes on, the choices become pretty sad,” James said.

Subway, the only restaurant on four of the five TCC campuses, is closed on weekends. And James is one of the 7,721 students enrolled in weekend classes on campus this semester.

“I ride to school with my mom, and her class ends early sometimes, so I don’t have a ride to lunch,” she said.

NE health services coordinator Pat Marling said what students eat affects learning and cautions certain foods actually create brain fogs that could inhibit learning.

“If you eat a blast of sugar, your body immediately goes on a roller coaster of an imbalance of ups and downs,” Marling said. “Everything you eat turns to glucose, and within hours your body now needs more food in order not to crash from the sugar high.”

Weekend classes arrived in 2010, and where many student services such as the library, science lab, math lab and the gym have extended weekend hours, the food services on most campuses have remained relatively the same.

In 2007, NW students voiced concerns in the first campus visioning session. Students wrote suggestions on a cafeteria banner: longer hours, breakfast when the cafeteria is not open, outsourcing of food concessions, a salad bar, a sushi bar, a coffee bar and big screen TVs.

Fast-forward eight years, and while some of the changes have been made on NW Campus, many of the cafeteria visions suggested by students have not been addressed.

Weekend classes offer busy students flexibility. But for many, the window of time known as lunch hour is not easy.

Every Saturday, NE student Taylor Travelbee spends countless hours away from his newborn son, attending a radio/television news writing class on campus. Often, he skips breakfast in hopes of finding at least one hearty option on campus.

“Nada is what I found, and I still can’t believe it,” said. “I take a six-hour vigorous class, and when I try to leave campus for lunch, I’m confronted by the rest of the world all eating lunch at the same time. Half the time, I stand in line for 20 minutes, all to arrive late back to class. I hate disrupting class, but I’m out of options.”

Two Subway managers said they weren’t aware campuses had weekend classes.

All campuses offer weekend classes, yet only the TR food outlet, which is not a Subway, is open on Saturdays until 1 p.m.

“We offer a great selection of to-go and package options, such as hamburgers and pizza,” TR food services director Dan Lee said.

Lee said to extend weekend food service hours, there would have to be a demand for it while being cost-efficient.

“We want students to eat on campus, but making schedule changes are above my pay grade,” he said.

While some students run off campus to eateries such as Chipotle’s and Raising Cane’s, others aren’t afforded that luxury.

NE student Hannah Kashmar doesn’t drive to campus, so she brown-bags it every weekend.

“How people go this long without food is surprising to me,” she said. “We are here all day, and I wish other options were available.”

Kashmar suggested a food truck or a limited selection of foods from Subway just on weekends as viable options.

Marling suggested students bring high-protein items such as tuna fish to school.

“It’s worse not to eat at all for five hours,” she said. “You will lose strength, possibly your vision, and it’s hard to maintain any sort of focus.”

When selecting a vending machine choice, Marling recommends pretzels over chips and nuts for snacks.

Back at the vending machines, James finally weeded through the sea of sugary and salty vending machine options at her disposal. She chose Skittles for breakfast and Cheetos for lunch.

“I know these are not healthy choices, but what else can I do?” James asked. “This is my first time at this campus, and I didn’t know there were no lunch options available. But something is better than nothing.”

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