NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Students unsastified with Jitters

By Jake Soroghan


NECC is a community college, and therefore does not always have the same amenities that a four-year institution has. It makes sense the tuition is less, so obviously not as much can be offered. There are less sports teams, the athletic complex is smaller, there are no dormitories and on the whole there are less events around campus.

This is all to be expected; students know the situation coming in. Even with these expectations, though, there’s one issue on campus that seems to irritate practically all students: the food situation. On campus, outside of vending machines, there are only two places to get food. The first is the One-Stop Center’s bookstore, which is essentially a mini-mart. With various snacks, drinks and microwaveable sandwiches, it serves its purposes as a way to get quick food cheaply.

On the other side of campus, there is what is supposed to be the school’s “cafeteria,” but calling it a cafeteria probably gives it too much credit. Run by NexDine and located in the Spurk building, this poorly-run café has little in the way of options and is excessive on the prices. The options for substantive meals come down to pre-made sandwiches in plastic containers and often old Papa Gino’s pizza, if pizza can even be considered substantive.

Andrew Wooster, an English major, said he’s tired of paying so much for the poor-quality food. “The sandwiches are old and skimpy, the pizza is $2.50 for a slice and besides that there ain’t anything else to eat. There’s always two or three employees in there and they do nothing but sit around all day.”

Dissatisfaction is a common theme among students. Ernie Ewusi, a Radiology major, said he no longer gets any food at NECC. He either brings his own, or if he’s in the mood, orders out.

“It just doesn’t make sense to get food here,” he said. “The only thing they have going for them is convenience, and even the vending machines are expensive.”

This is the root of the problem; due to its convenience, students are often compelled to buy the overpriced food here because they don’t have the time or gas money to leave campus to get food and come back for their next class.

Erik Goulet, a Physical Therapy major, says that’s a problem for him every day he forgets to bring food from home, or there is no food at home.

“If I can’t pack a lunch for myself on a given day, I have to go hungry for the whole day. I don’t have enough money to get the expensive food at the café, and am always short on gas, so driving somewhere isn’t an option.”

Expanding the cafeteria to include a wider array of hot food options would solve a few of the current problems.

One, it would simply give students more filling and healthy options. Secondly, if the cafeteria was making its own hot food, the prices would go down.

When nothing but pre-packaged sandwiches and pizza are sold, the prices have to be more expensive because a middleman is involved.

When food is made on site, there is no middleman and therefore prices go down. NexDine either needs to increase the quality of their services or NECC administration need to find another company who can address the need of the students to fill that role.