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HomeLocal & Regional NewsCollege Board Addressing Food Council Concerns at Tuesday Meeting

College Board Addressing Food Council Concerns at Tuesday Meeting

When the Lassen College Board of Trustees meets Tuesday evening one of the items to be discussed is approval of a proposed 9-meal per week meal plan. That pilot meal plan for LCC students would start in the fall semester and helps address some of the issues brought forward to the governing board by the Lassen County Food Council at last month’s meeting.

On May 9th, Food Council President Kerri Cobb addressed the college’s Board of Trustees and asked for, “the serious issue of Food Insecurity of Students at Lassen College” to be included in the June 13th, agenda.

The Food Council was formed 3-years ago and is comprised of representatives from the Salvation Army, Lassen County Office of Education, Lassen County Snap Ed and Cal Fresh staff, Crossroads Ministries, Soroptimist International of Susanville and the Veterans Food Bank.

As an organization with a mission to reduce food insecurity in our community, educate those experiencing food insecurity, and to utilize community contacts and resources to do outreach.

“Our organization is reaching out to you, the Lassen College Board of Trustees,” said Cobb at the May board meeting, “to gain support for your staff and students to get the resources they need to be food secure.”

“Over the past two years we have had several community members bring to our attention that there are college students attending Lassen College without enough to eat. Most recently we were contacted by a student leader from Lassen College that has serious concerns about the unfinished kitchen at the dorms, the limited hours and lack of healthy food options at the Café, and the overall lack of support from the administration to do anything about it.”

“In the past few weeks I have met with Karissa Morehouse and Dave Clausen. In talking with them I better understand the issues and opportunities that exist to bring food security to Lassen College Students.”

“It is important that the student’s most basic needs of food and shelter be met to have Student Success. Our council is willing to work with college staff and students to educate students on community resources. We would ask that a time sensitive plan be implemented to finish the community kitchen in the dorms, that a pre-loaded meal card for the Café be researched and implemented, and that a list of food resources in our community be distributed to students electronically throughout the next school year.”

“Lassen College is an asset to our community, both in providing higher education to our rural community members and also providing economic stability,” concluded Cobb. “We are here today because we want the Board of Trustees to consider the issue of student hunger a priority in improving student retention and success at Lassen College.”

In a follow-up statement to SusanvilleStuff, Lassen College President and Superintendent, Dr. Marlon Hall responded to the Food Council’s concerns, saying the administration and student body are discussing implementation of a meal plan for students on campus.

“As far as students not being provided the resources on campus to get enough to eat, that is not true. The cafeteria serves breakfast and lunch daily, Monday through Friday. Students have plenty of options for breakfast including eggs, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and omelets. For lunch, you have your basic hamburger, veggie burgers, grilled chicken, turkey, chicken strips, fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries. Also, we have frozen drinks and smoothies. A salad bar is available during lunch time. Homemade soups are available during the lunch hour in cold weather. We also have fruit available.”

“We offer special meals on certain days-Taco Tuesday, Asian Thursday, etc. Students can request from the staff what they want to eat. Cathy and Brennan have done an excellent job with food service on campus and accommodating student requests.”

Criticism of the college’s food program extended to a kitchen in the dorms which is under construction and at the moment unavailable to students.

“In the past two years the kitchen was available to students living in the dorms. A training class is offered before they may use the kitchen,” Hall explained.

“Basically, the students were setting off the fire alarm daily in the kitchen. The Fire Department stated to us that we had to make renovations to the kitchen or be shut down.”

According to Hall the college has committed to a total renovation of the kitchen area with seating for students to eat their meals.

“Unfortunately, the kitchen is not complete,” said Hall. “Our staff is continuing to work on it for completion for the fall of 2017. When it is completed, the resident students will have a nice area for dining.”

“Also, the meal plan issue is being solved,” Hall explained, referring to the meal plan proposal on Tuesday night’s agenda. “In the fall, we will begin a pilot optional meal plan program for resident students. It is proposed that the meal plan is nine meals per week, breakfast and dinner for four days with one meal on Friday since a lot of our local students go away and a lot of our athletes are traveling. The weekend will give students the option of utilizing the renovated kitchen in the dormitory.”

“In our meal plan proposal, the most important issue is the cost to our students. We wanted the cost to be affordable for all of our students. The monthly charge to live in the dormitory is $300 a month. This is one of the lowest in the state. Our meal plan had to be affordable for our students. At similar institutions in the state the cost can range anywhere from $700 a month (including food) to over $8000 a year. In our plan, we are looking at an additional cost of $250 a month for dining. This keeps the cost to a minimum and it will be optional.”

“There has not been a meal plan at Lassen Community College since 2011. The administration is committed to completion of the renovation of the kitchen in the dormitory and there are several options for students in the cafeteria (our options are similar to other community colleges). The hours of operation in the cafeteria may increase with the new proposed plan.”

“The administration,” concluded Hall, “is committed to feeding our students that live in the dormitory.”

Tuesday’s LCC Board of Trustees meeting is open to the public and begins at 5:30p.m. in the boardroom on the college’s campus.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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