Food options at El Camino College are slowly diminishing in availability and quality


Luciane Gasperis/ Special to the Union

Over the past few semesters, El Camino College students have experienced the demise of popular food vendors leading to a campus-wide shortage of options for a hot meal.

After closing due to a fire caused by a robbery, the absence of The Manhattan deli has left ECC students limited to food options at the well known Café Camino or the lesser known Art Deli located in the art complex.

With the Art Deli scheduled to close within the next few years, Café Camino would become the sole campus food option besides vending machines, the Bookstore’s basic selection of snacks and drinks, and the LAMobile food truck that only serves food Monday through Thursday.

For most ECC students, rushing off of campus to eat between classes is just too difficult for certain schedules. The Union believes that, at a minimum, there should be at least three to four hot food options available on campus.

While ECC has limited options, other community colleges have excelled in their ability to meet the nutritional demands of growing populations of students. These basic needs, unfortunately, have not been met by the current ECC administration.

Santa Monica College has three hot food options on campus, not including their vending machines. These cafés offer an array of colorful and nutritious options such as fusion dishes and even French pastries.

Cerritos College has more than five different on-campus food options for students to enjoy, despite having 3,440 fewer students than ECC according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

A remodel of the Bookstore and Manhattan deli location was discussed by the Board of Trustees (BOT) during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, but no official construction has started. The proposed $1.2 million remodel would be called the Bookstore Café and would include a place for students to study and relax with coffee and hot food options, according to official documents included in the BOT’s presentation.

However, with the Bookstore Café scheduled to open in 2021, and with ECC student enrollment on a steady rise, the options for easily accessible food should match the needs of a growing student population.

The Union believes that an affordable option for ECC is to have more contracted food trucks that offer a diverse menu to students pressed for time.

The food truck options offer the college a comprehensive strategy that would eliminate the need for new buildings to house kitchens, such as the Manhattan, Art Deli and Café Camino. Furthermore it is a way to promote small businesses which in turn benefits all parties involved.

With more feasible alternatives, the lack of food options for students could be solved and the college could focus its efforts to other projects.

ECC’s population is only going to continue to grow, and it is the responsibility of the administration to meet these new demands.

Without affordable and reasonably located food vendors, ECC students are going to continue to face stale options that will continue to dwindle in quality.