The students, faculty and administration at Woodland Community College agree that their campus’ student lounge needs more flavor. Without a cafeteria, students and staff members turn to the seven vending machines around campus, or go to local businesses for meals between classes.
Nearing the end of February and during a rain storm, the notice on the coffee machine reading, “Temporarily out of order due to preventative maintenance issues” was rarely noticed as students came and went between their lunch hours.
During a three hour gap, around which lunch breaks are usually taken, only four students stopped inside the lounge, only two of whom stayed longer than five minutes.
Located in building 100, just a few steps away from the building’s front door, is a wall full of windows looking inside the student lounge. The sign over the lounge’s doors reads that the room can fit a maximum of 90 people. But several students reported never having seen the room’s eleven tables, each seating four to six people, filled.
The makeshift entertainment area is along the back wall, facing the vending machines. When asked about the television set, students in the lounge shrugged their shoulders and someone said, “Who knows if it works. Maybe they use it for faculty meetings.”
Other than a few small snacks at the student bookstore, the lounge is the only place on campus offering food products. Of the five vending machines in the room, only two serve food. But there are plenty of beverage machines. Students can find soda, juice, coffee, water, and Snapple..
One of the snack vending machines offers the standard vending machine fair: bags of chips, crackers and trail mix, and a variety of candy. The other snack machine offers yogurt, microwavable burritos, muffins, and packaged sandwiches.
After crossing the street, students have more available to them at the Raley’s gas station, or nearby businesses, like Jamba Juice, than they do in their student lounge.
Last semester a group of students from Karen Stephens’ Group Communications class gave a presentation to the Woodland Campus Site Council about the need for a food service area, or coffee hut.
The group’s solution was not an idea dreamt up for the sake of passing the assignment. It was something the students really worked towards. “Everything was ready,” said Professor Stephens. “They even found a cart.” Their only problem was finding the plumbing to accommodate the hut.
When asked about the student lounge, Stephens said, “The main problem is that we don’t have the student base to justify the cost.”
But with the population expected to grow dramatically over the next ten years, the Woodland area is preparing to accommodate students as well as residents. In addition, when Woodland Community College becomes a separately accredited college, it will increase its chances of getting more construction and repair work done.
In a previous interview about the expansion of Woodland’s campus, Dr. Angela Fairchilds, President of Woodland Community College, stated, “If we could only have one more thing right now, it has to be some kind of food service facility for our students. No matter what else we plan, that has to be in those discussions.”
A Bay Area woman visiting the campus with her daughter walked into the student lounge. Looking around, she let out a sigh as she walked over to the vending machines, stopping at the cart holding two microwaves. Finally, the woman asked, “Where are the people? What happens if you aren’t carrying any change?”
When her daughter explained that instead of someone serving fresh fruit and meals at the school, she would usually find things to snack on from the vending machines, her mother was shocked.
“But,” the daughter added, “sometimes there’s a really good burrito truck that I get food from.”