FAMU’s 2010-2020 Strategic Plan has a lot in store for this decade. The Board of Trustees approved a five-pronged approach, addressing everything from student life to the school’s international presence.
The last segment of the third “Strategic Initiative” caught my eye; it promised to, “Systematically plan for growth of the campus’ geographical area.” Almost immediately I thought, “more dining facilities?”
A campus eatery near the Palmetto Street Apartments is long overdue. Too often, students are forced to go hungry because there’s too little time and too far to walk. It’s not bad time management; it’s a fact of life.
For some perspective, let’s consider the eating facilities at Florida State. Like FAMU, the school has two main dining locations and some dormitories require residents to have meal plans. Unlike the Main Dining Hall at the corner of Wahnish Way and Gamble Street, and the Orange Room in the University Commons, however, FSU’s dining facilities operate consecutive hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday. If FSU students get tired of cafeteria food they can trot on over to Oglesby Union, where their FlexBucks, invisible dollars that can only be spent on meals, are accepted at on-campus chain restaurants.
All told, the ‘Noles’ campus boasts a Chili’s, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Papa Johns, Quiznos, several Starbucks coffee shops and a 24-hour Denny’s. As if this wasn’t enough variety, some off-campus restaurants, like Zaxby’s on Tennessee Street, also accept FSU FlexBucks. Amidst the overwhelming amount of options, it’s virtually impossible for someone to go hungry.
To be fair, FSU does have to feed about three times as many students; still, it’s not too much to ask for FAMU’s administration to take a few tiny steps forward when it comes to our own eating options.
First, the Main Dining Hall should have extended hours. Yes, there is a continual feeding period between lunch and dinner. But if students happen to sleep through breakfast, like many of us did this morning, we are doomed to go hungry until 11 am.
Secondly, the meal plans need more variety. Right now, dormitory residents only have control in how many meals they eat a week. On the other hand, FSU offers “block” meal plans, where students purchase a set number of meals per semester instead of per week. This would come in handy for students who are going to be out of town, say, at the Florida Classic this weekend, and don’t want the rest of their meals for the week to go to waste. This would work wonders for anyone who has either run out of meals during the week or had too many left over.
Also, it would be really cool to use FlexBucks at off-campus restaurants. Imagine walking to Checkers or the FAMU McDonald’s late one night, ordering a burger and pulling out a Rattler card to pay. Additionally, there’s a Chipotle planned for construction nearby that might be interested in new business.
While the current students appreciate the steps already taken, we hope it’s not too late to make a few adjustments to the Strategic Plan. After all, 2020 is still a long way off.