Campus Dining rolls back prices to help GRCC students address food insecurity

Jan. 15, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Grand Rapids Community College’s Campus Dining is rolling back prices in the Raider Grill and Sneden Café to help making eating more affordable and assist campus efforts to address food insecurity among students.

Destiny Swanson, Campus Dining’s catering manager, said the company is aware of the challenges facing college students and wanted to see what it could do to support efforts from GRCC’s Office of Student Life and Conduct to make sure students aren’t going hungry.

“We are a part of the campus community, and we care deeply about the people we serve,” she said. “We know it’s difficult to concentrate on studies when students are worried about their next meal. This is a step we can take to help be a part of the solution.”

Campus Dining Director Keaton Krupa said “Success in other areas has allowed us to review food and labor costs in student-focused food services and roll back prices on most items.”

The size of the rollback varies from item to item, but the price of chicken tenders will drop 35 cents (from $5.35 to $5) and now has five strips instead of four. A buffalo chicken wrap will drop $1.25 (from $6.25 to $5) and the price of the cheese quesadilla will drop $1.50 (from $4.50 to $3).

Swanson said Campus Dining started a “Random Act of Yum” event series last semester, in part to help. Their team appeared in several places on campus with little notice to surprise students with fun snacks. Students on Wednesday received free hot dogs and chips. She said this semester’s goal is to make at least one event a full meal for students to have.

Campus Dining partners with GRCC to operate the Raider Grill, Quiet Café and Sneden Café as well as provide catering for campus events.

The Campus Dining team was aware of research from Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, who presented to GRCC staff and faculty last week a Hope Center for College and Community Justice study about how housing and food insecurity affect community college students. The study indicated that between 42 percent and 56 percent of community college students nationally experienced food insecurity.

“Our goal is to do our part in making sure there are affordable options to students on campus” Krupa said.

GRCC’s Office of Student Life operates a food pantry in the Student Center, and makes students aware of food assistance and other resources through the webpage. Snack pantries can also be found around campus. 

"There is no one solution to issues such as food insecurity or housing insecurity. It takes a variety of approaches," said Lina Blair, director of Student Life and Conduct. "Campus Dining clearly cares about GRCC students, and we appreciate that it wants to play a role in helping students be successful.”

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.


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