Let’s taco ’bout it: the end of affordable food at Fresno State

You may want to sit down for this.

The Taco Bell Express on campus near the University Student Union is closing its doors during Dead Days in May. Originally, employees were given a notice that their days at Taco Bell were numbered only 10 days in advance – leaving students and employees high and dry.

Sources are saying that the spot Taco Bell currently occupies will be replaced by a healthier alternative, but there are concerns about food security on campus.

Students, including myself, are gutted by the news – not only because Crunchwrap Supremes are delightful and cinnamon twists make an excellent snack, but because there is no promise that the next choice in university dining options will be replaced with something as cost-effective.

While on paper it seems as though replacing Taco Bell Express with a healthier alternative seems like the right thing to do, students are losing what could possibly be the most inexpensive place on campus to eat.

The “healthy alternatives” already being offered on campus are outrageously priced for what they truly are – chicken caesar wraps being sold on the lower level of the USU and other places on campus are almost $6 – but contain only a tortilla, romaine lettuce, chicken and parmesan cheese.

A healthier alternative doesn’t have to be more expensive or time-consuming, and with this new eatery on the horizon, the opportunity to deliver healthy food at a reasonable price could finally come to fruition.

However, whatever this new on-campus dining experience decides to be is still up in the air.

Fresno State offers extended resources to students on campus who suffer from food insecurity by means of the Student Cupboard in the Industrial Technology Building. However, food security stems from more than what the Student Cupboard has to offer.

We need to treat the myth that healthier food is more expensive as just that – a myth. There is no reason why the healthy alternatives already being sold on campus are expensive as they are.

The closing of Taco Bell Express creates issues for many of those on campus, including the displacement of student employees with little time in advance to figure out where to go from there.

If this new eatery wants to truly address student needs, administrators need to keep in mind those on campus who want access to inexpensive dining options that will keep students fulfilled longer.

While the thought of a $5 box doesn’t sound like an appealing dining option to all, students rely on the affordability that made Taco Bell Express more accessible to students eating on a budget.

Students rely on eateries on campus to fill their needs for reasonable prices. However, dining options on campus have been lackluster when it comes to just that – the current offers of Robertito’s, Panda Express and Subway are not entirely affordable and only give off the appearance of healthy, sustainable food options when, in reality, further action needs to be taken.

Though chalupas and crunchwraps are delicious and their presence on Fresno State’s campus will be missed, the issues are larger than that. It’s about the institution doing what can be done to create opportunities for students to obtain healthy and filling food at a price that doesn’t affect the skyrocketing living and school expenses students are already dealing with.

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