In response to student concerns about maintaining the cost, quality and availability of food on campus, the Associated Students of UC Irvine developed a Food Committee, headed by Raymond Giang, ASUCI vice president of administrative affairs.
‘Our main goals are to oversee the food on campus,’ Giang said. ‘Currently there are only two main vendors on campus. The first [is] Cornerstone and Spins, and the other is Aramark. So as a committee we bring up concerns from students, faculty and staff. We try to lower prices and keep the quality of food on campus.’
The Food Committee is not yet a full-fledged group within ASUCI, although it may gain independence in the future.
‘The Food Committee is a subset of the UCI Student Center Board,’ Giang said. ‘Right now, the committee is part of the board.’
The committee consists of representatives from several on-campus organizations, who are all members of the Student Center Board.
The Food Committee is currently in the process of expanding this diversity. Applications are available for the Student Center Board, which would allow students to sit on this committee.
Most of UCI’s dining facilities are operated by an external company, Aramark. Consequently, the Food Committee does not have direct control over decisions that they make. However, Giang said that they have been very responsive to committee concerns so far, and that the committee does exert some indirect power.
‘I feel we are getting stronger,’ Giang said. ‘Aramark has listened to our concerns and made changes. We just got Aramark to bring in cheaper alternatives. We were able to get hamburgers that are $1.99, tax included. Aramark wants to stay in business, so they do listen to our concerns.’
Although the cheap hamburgers were one big success, the Food Committee still has other concerns, mostly relating to the cost of food.
‘The prices went up and the quality stayed the same,’ Giang said. ‘In addition, we were looking for cheaper alternatives. We wanted to see cheaper-priced items. We are also looking for more space and dining areas.’
Ann Ngo, a fourth-year history major said some concerns that she hoped the Food Committee will address.
‘The food court was a place where people could sit and talk with their friends,’ Ngo said. ‘BC’s Cavern is kind of like that, but it’s not the same. I would like them to find other places on campus like that.’
Perhaps the biggest dining-related concern of UCI students is the recent closure of the popular Anthill Pub and Grille. The Food Committee is working to find a suitable replacement location.
‘The closing of the pub was disappointing,’ Ngo said. ‘I wish they could have extended the time it was open until the end of this quarter. It offered good music and a good atmosphere.’
Giang said that where the new Pub will be located and when it will open is ‘still in debate,’ although it will probably be open early next school year.
Although no official announcement has been made, many speculate that Cafe Med will be the Pub’s new location.