Rider offers its students some sweet subsidized services including access to cable television, WiFi, the Student Recreation Center’s gym and various fitness classes, plus affordable tickets for plays and other events off campus.
However, when it comes to food, Rider seems to view this service more as a potentially profitable business rather than as the supply of necessary nutrients to the hungry.
After all, food is a service that many students cannot go off campus to receive. Without access to a car, heading to the grocery store to stock up on meals can be a huge challenge, leaving some with no choice but to rely on Rider for every meal.
For students who are big eaters and have a lot of time to chow down, Daly’s offers an affordable opportunity to fill up. However, for those with smaller appetites or short lunch breaks, Cranberry’s is the first option. Options are even fewer at Westminster Choir College.
Cranberry’s offers fast, a la carte options that can be taken anywhere, but they come at a price. A decent meal including a drink from Cranberry’s can range from $5 to $12. In fact, a recent tab for a spicy buffalo chicken wrap, fries, fruit cup and iced tea ran $13.42 (with no tax). With three meals a day, students can spend anywhere between $15 and $35 a day. Multiply those costs to come up with an average weekly food budget of ranging from $75 to $175. Those numbers don’t even include coffee and pastries from Starbucks.
Rider should be trying to keep students happy and healthy by providing them with a variety of nutritious food options for reasonable prices.
Unfortunately, Cranberry’s customers often have to choose between healthy choices and breaking their budget. While it seems that greasy, fried and sugary foods are cheaper than fresh, healthy options everywhere, this is an epidemic that should not be reinforced by college campuses.
Intake of proper nutrients and avoiding an empty stomach is important for everyone — especially college students. Fitbrains.com calls fruits and vegetables the “powerhouse for brain health” and recommends these foods to be the largest portion of every meal. However, the prices of healthy options on campus do not encourage students to make smart choices.
A regular-sized serving of french fries comes in at $1.89 at Cranberry’s, while a cup of celery, carrots and ranch dressing goes for nearly double that price: a hefty $3.49. In contrast, Wawa sells the same snack for $2.59. Baby carrots and celery stalks come pretty cheap, and with little necessary preparation. This healthy option should not put such a hole in students’ wallets.
Similarly, fruit cups of diced pineapple, mixed fruit, or grapes ring up for $3.25 at Cranberry’s while Quick Chek charges $2.99. These are again healthy snacks that require only a little rinsing and chopping — so why do they come at such a high cost?
While a couple of dimes and dollars here and there may not seem like much at the time, those pennies add up quickly. When students realize that all of their pocket change is paying for their overpriced healthy snacks at Cranberry’s, they might gravitate back to the grease.
Next time Rider and Aramark sit down to discuss a contract, both parties should consider focusing on providing more affordable healthy options. This would encourage students to eat healthier, which would benefit their bodies and their brains. At the same time, students might be more willing to spend a little cash on the healthy options that Rider offers, which would increase sales and therefore makeup for the profits that are lost because of the price cuts.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by Copy Editor Sarah Bergen
Printed in the 3/5/14 edition.