Night owls howl over lack of food choices

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

The lack of evening food options at Highline has left the campus community hungry for more choices. 

Highline offers more than 100 evening classes each week, with some beginning as early as 4 p.m. and some ending as late as 9:20 p.m. 

Aside from vending machines and the Bookstore, there are three places students, staff and faculty can get food on campus; the Union Cafe, Fireside Bistro and Cafe 29. 

The Union Cafe is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the Fireside Bistro is open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Cafe 29 is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The food on campus is provided by Lancer, a company that provides food services to various destinations throughout Pierce and King County. 

Lancer serves Shoreline College, Pierce, Point Defiance Zoo and the Woodland Park Zoo. 

Highline signed a three-year contract with Lancer in September 2015. This contract states that those on campus can't order food from any company other than Lancer. 

Lancer provides food catering Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a $40 minimum and a requested 72-hour notice. Food can be ordered after these hours for an additional charge. 

Some students, staff, and faculty who spend time on campus in the evening have expressed their concerns about the lack of options and have suggested solutions and ideas to improve the options. 

"I'm sure there are some budget limitations, since during that time there are less students to serve. However, if we are providing afternoon and evening classes we should accommodate those students as well," said Sean Puno, Multimedia Design program manager. 

Puno said he is not demanding this request, but will support any changes to benefit the students and learning environment. 

Sharon Rivera, MESA director, suggested implementing more diversity into the food on campus. She said vegetarians, vegans and those with religious needs sometimes have nothing to eat. 

"We don't have enough diverse food choices for our diverse campus," she said. 

Other ideas such as food trucks on campus, extended hours for on campus food services and eating the food we grow on campus have been suggested by students, staff and faculty. 

Rachel Collins, Conference Services manager, said that all of these ideas are great. However, budget limitations and contracts can make it difficult to implement these plans. 

"As of now, there is Cafe 29, which is open till 6 p.m. That's kind of that late evening time, when people may not be aware that they're open later," Collins said.

"Sometimes it's also a challenge because they're located all the way in Building 29, and you may have a class on the other side of the campus."

She said they are currently discussing expanding food options at night and placing a cafe in a more central location on campus. 

Collins said expanding food options in the evening and keeping the cafes open later may cause Lancer to lose money because people may not eat it. 

Dr. James Peyton, Highline economics professor, is currently working on a survey for evening students to see if they would buy food on campus if it was available later. 

Collins said they are discussing some options about expanding evening food options that could be implemented in the near future. 

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