LMC trucks along in the quest for food on campus

Hopes to bring food trucks in the Spring Semester


Michael Benedian

LMC student Nestor Paniagua buys a snack from the vending machine

Katrina Anabo, Staff Writer

As COVID-19 cases have diminished, many students, faculty and staff have been coming back to the Los Medanos College campus with a cheerful heart but empty stomachs. With the new Student Union cafeteria still closed, only “convenience store” like foods are currently sold on campus, making it difficult for members of the college community to find fulfilling meals. As the population on campus rises, the need for more food on campus grows.

Third year student Lynny Cao believes more options than convenience store food should be available for everyone.

“Having limited food and drinks doesn’t make it feel like a college environment,” she said.

But Vice President Carlos Montoya said last semester that the cafeteria will remain closed until the college can find the right vendor to provide fulfilling meals when the population of students on campus grows larger.

According to Dean Ryan Pedersen from the Office of Instruction last semester, in spring 2022 there were just 1,675 students enrolled at the Pittsburg campus for in-person classes. The number of students enrolled this semester has increased by more than 1,000 resulting in 3,165 students enrolled in in-person classes this fall. 

Although more students are now comfortable coming back to campus, Montoya said there is currently has no estimate for how many more students on campus it will take for the cafeteria to open and provide meals. He explained that the cafeteria will remain closed until LMC is able to find a vendor that would both benefit LMC and be able to generate a profit. 

“The determination is a business decision based on the vendor’s analysis,” said Montoya. “They must determine if the costs associated with providing food services (costs of ingredients, staffing, benefits, other overhead, etc.) on campus would be a profitable business for them.”

Despite the cafeteria remaining closed, the LMC student bookstore continues to provide food and drinks for new and returning students on campus. This semester, the bookstore has noticed a wave of students purchasing food and drinks to enjoy while they’re on campus.

“We do see a big increase in students purchasing food and drinks from the last couple of weeks,” said bookstore supply buyer Andrew Murphy. “A lot of students purchase a lot of water, sport drinks and we go through the sandwiches and pastas as well.”

The bookstore is one of the only locations on campus that offer students the opportunity to purchase different snacks and beverages on campus that help make them feel relaxed and welcomed.

“The college is trying to encourage more students on campus and providing more amenities such as food is a great way to do so,” said student Cao. “I think when the college lacks that, it kind of makes students not feel as welcomed, especially those folks who were behind the screen for so long.”

To make LMC feel more welcoming for the new and returning students, LMC’s Business Services Department is still in the process of trying to provide food trucks on campus and re-open the café cart inside of the library for students attending in-person classes. However, this process will take some time. 

“We have been adding more food options to our vending machines and bookstores as the first phase,” said Montoya. “The next phase is to bring food trucks on campus and the third phase will be based on the RFP process for a vendor to provide food through the café.”

Students on campus can expect a more wide range of food options in the 2023 spring semester.

“Ideally, food trucks will be on campus by then for lunch service,” said Montoya. 

As for this fall semester regarding food: The student bookstore, the LMC Marketplace and vending machines scattered around campus will continue to provide food and drinks for everyone.