Students struggle with groceries, healthy options


Photo by Kelsee McHugh

Students line up at the sandwich/wrap station in the Point Cafe, one of the dining options on campus.

Written By Allison Schubert , Co-Features Editor

The college experience is different for university students throughout the country and the world.

One thing that seems to remain a constant, especially at Point Park, is the struggle to access groceries or healthy options while living their college experience.

Students have two main sources of on-campus dining options, the Point Café located on the second floor of Lawrence Hall and the Dining Hall, located just one floor up from the café.

The Dining Hall menu varies each day, but a lot of the staples, like burgers, fries or pizza, remain daily. The café is more consistent, with menus that very rarely change, which for students, can be more of a nuisance.

“The food at the café is pretty good, but it gets old after a while,” freshman Alexis Slavicek said. “A lot of people also don’t like how greasy the food is.”

The grill station in the café is open the latest of all of the stations, and offers mostly deep fried foods, like burgers, chicken, fries, quesadillas and grilled cheese.

“For someone who doesn’t go home often, I pretty much starve on the weekends,” freshman broadcast reporting major Taylor Spirito said. “The hours just don’t make sense on the weekends. When they are open, they close some of the amenities before the café itself closes. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a salad at ten o’clock, but at that point, you can only get something greasy and no one wants to eat all of that greasy food that late at night.”

Students with diet restrictions also have a hard time finding options to suit their needs in the university’s dining program.

“My friend has a gluten sensitivity,” Spirito said. “There is a sign in the sandwich station window in the café that says they have gluten free bread upon request, but when she asked, they actually didn’t have any.”

In situations like this, students then turn to the groceries they get. This is another problem for all students, especially those in a city setting like Point Park.

Shuttles do run to East Liberty on Sundays, allowing students to go to Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Aldi for their groceries, but not all students can work this into their schedules.

“I work on Sundays so I can’t use the shuttles to East Liberty,” junior broadcast reporting major Noah Strackbein said. “I usually end up walking to Aldi in the South Side. It’s terrible. By the time I’m done shopping, I have to walk back to campus with all of the bags.”

Because of the limited availability of groceries close to campus, a lot of students will forego groceries altogether.

“I really don’t get groceries,” Slavicek said. “That’s actually a big problem because it’s hard to catch the shuttle since my schedule doesn’t always match up with it. Usually, I just rely on the café or spend my money and go to Chipotle or something else around the city.”

Other students who are from around the Pittsburgh area will make a trip home just for food.

“Whenever I go home for a weekend or over breaks, I’ll bring groceries back, but I don’t depend on them,” Spirito said. “I usually go to the café for food because it’s convenient and I don’t want to lug bags of groceries back and forth from East Liberty or the South Side.”

Spirito said the hardest part of finding food as a college student is to cater to what is available, but still staying on the college student budget.

“You have to plan out what you’re doing early in the week, and that’s not always easy to do, especially without a kitchen or appliances,” Spirito said.