Student dining choices at USF questioned

12/22/08 Sadia Ahmed
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University of South Florida offers education to more than 40,000 students on its Tampa campus. As a result, USF student dining carries great importance for such a large body of students. Some say the school fails to meet its student and staff needs when it comes to the number of food vendors and healthy food choices. The Tampa campus offers only a handful of vendors such as Burger King, Beef O'Brady's, Chick-Fil-A in the fast food category, and Subway and Einstein bagel in the relatively healthier categories. Besides these, multiple Ben & Jerrys and Starbucks offer beverages in addition to other foods and snacks.

When asked about the campus food choices, the majority of students reported frustration in their choice of food. One USF staff member reported similar opinion.

Some students expressed regret at not having more choices in their own respective departments. Many are unable to get better food from off campus vendors because of their busy schedules, both students and staff report. Critics say that USF dining also comes up short in providing the nutritious food to its many students at a reasonable price.

When asked about desired future changes, several students said they would like to see more healthy choices at more locations on campus. The students also preferred to include organic choices in their food menu, would like to see collaboration with local vendors to reduce the food price.

USF ranks as one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public schools designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The extensive research focus of the USF students only emphasizes the importance of nutritious food that they must put into their bodies. The healthy food supporters hope that USF dining will expand its food choices in a healthier direction at a reasonable price in near future.

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