The campus culture of fast food: We want quality

Our demographic of young eaters are picky when we want to be. On a Tuesday night, nothing can fill us up quite like a chicken burrito from Chipotle can. But, on the weekend, when our beverages of choice are in our system, anything that delivers or is within walking distance will suffice. Here at the University of Oregon Campus, our quick bite options have been dwindling.

Chipotle and Hawaiian Time are much preferred over McDonald’s because of the quality. Stephanie Storm, a New York Times business reporter, recently broke down people’s preferences and found “upscale fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle attract customers who will pay $6.65 for a steak burrito (‘organic and local produce where practical’). The menu might be full of calories, but it comes with a halo of quality.”

Here on campus, that quality is lacking with the EMU being shut down for spring term.

Term schedules have been made where one might be stuck on campus for four or five hours (maybe even more) due to back-to-back classes and other responsibilities. With food options in the EMU closed for spring term and Wendy’s shutting down across the street, students are left to figure out what their food situation will be for the day.

For many, the closure of the EMU isn’t a big problem so much as it is a burden. Katie Bennett, a human physiology major, labeled the EMU’s shutdown as annoying. “I would usually go in there for a snack – I wouldn’t necessarily eat there – but now, because it was so centered, I have to go out of my way just to pick up a snack,” said Bennett.

Some have made it a habit of packing their own lunch or snacks from home to make it through the day. Morgan Adams, a sophomore Biology major, faced a schedule last term where she didn’t have time to go home and eat. “I’d pack snacks and just make a big dinner when I get home,” said Adams.

Others have decided to go back to the dining halls in the residence halls. Melissa Kidman, a sophomore family and human services major, has loaded up her student ID with campus cash to literally fill her needs.

Kidman is now vegan after being a vegetarian for a year, “I have campus cash and so I still go to the dining halls… but being vegan in the dining halls is a lot harder [than being vegetarian].”

Propositions for new food options, like Chipotle and Starbucks, have made its way to the board of trustees, and these suggested options just might be able to fill the quality gap that campus food lacks.

Kidman hopes that restaurants will adapt to the needs of vegans and vegetarians “I hope there will be something, not necessarily a vegan restaurant, because I know the audience for something like that may not be that big, but something with vegan options would be really cool,” said Kidman.

Bennett hopes that campus cash will still be accepted in the new EMU, “I don’t want to see that go away.”

Follow Mike Mendoza on Twitter @MikeWheresIke

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Mike Mendoza

Mike Mendoza

Mike is an Arts and Culture reporter covering campus events while dabbling into the entertainment side of things. His free time is spent listening to Taylor Swift and researching Richard Nixon.