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EDITORIAL: Centennial Campus food options lack flavor

NC State’s Centennial Campus is geared primarily toward its engineering students, of which there were over 6,000 undergraduates last year. 1,000 of these were full-time first-years, meaning they were required to live on campus. While there are a multitude of apartments on campus owned both privately and by the school, students can’t survive on a bed alone; they also need places to eat.

Main Campus students may get tired of the dining halls after a while, but it’s only a short walk to Hillsborough Street when the cravings kick in for Chipotle or Taco Bell.  NC State is an engineering school, and the NC State Engineering Foundation raised over $39.2 million last year, $3.3 million of which directly benefited the college. Yet, our engineering students are starved for dining locations.

By far the largest dining area on Centennial is On the Oval, which consists of five separate restaurants. All of these restaurants close at 2 or 3 p.m. every single day and are closed all day on weekends, with the exception of Gravity Cafe, which has a separate seating area and is open until 10 p.m. On the Oval seats over 400 students when it’s open, but Gravity only seats up to 25. 

Students’ other on-campus options are limited at best. Port City Java in Engineering Building II, Common Grounds at Hunt Library and Shuttle Inn Cafe, a convenience store, serve little more than coffee or snacks. Other locations, like the State Club Restaurant in the Park Alumni Center and Terrace Dining Room on Lonnie Poole Golf Course, accept Dining Dollars but are too far to be considered within feasible walking distance.

NC State has resorted to outsourcing its dining options to privately owned food trucks in the Raleigh area, but even those don’t stay on campus past 1:30 p.m. They also do not accept Dining Dollars, aren’t particularly healthy and still require a considerable walk from Centennial housing.

Of the above locations, only On the Oval and the coffee shops accept meal credits, meaning students’ only options for dinner on a meal plan at Centennial Campus are Gravity Cafe and Common Grounds. While students could theoretically sustain themselves by eating at these locations every single day, doing so would take a toll on both their physical and mental health, meaning Centennial Campus forces its prized engineering students, some of the brightest in the country, to choose: Spend out of pocket or starve.

While other parts of campus may have difficulty finding food options between classes or which fit into their dietary requirements and preferences, Centennial Campus students are forced to take what they can get. With a grand total of two locations and less than 50 seats that accept meal plans during dinner hours, engineering students, who already pay additional fees for “program enhancement,” shouldn’t have to pay extra to find decent food a reasonable distance from their homes away from home.

This unsigned editorial is the opinion of Technician’s editorial board and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.