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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

No Competition – Editorial 4/29/04

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Patty’s Pantry or El Oriental dishing up their standout food on Columbia point? Or maybe a new student business providing weary UMB staff and students with refreshments that will give the Wit’s End a run for it’s money? There’s room for this right now, but the university is in danger of losing out on diversity and competition in favor of big business.

New opportunities for food vendors are in place all over campus, and Sodexho is thinking about new kiosks in the Campus Center and the Healey Library. The spaces under consideration should be opened to competition from student run and local enterprises. It’s only fair, especially as the Wit’s End is the only Student Life organization that missed out on space in the spacious new building, and as a well-run student business, expanding them means more hands-on opportunities for students.

Local restaurants and coffee outlets also deserve a chance to compete in the island market that is our campus. The Mass Media believes that local and student run enterprises can offer diversity and competition, and reward the university with lucrative use of space and closer ties to the community.

There’s no reason for Sodexho, which has five outlets on campus, brand new kitchens and cafeteria space, and a monopoly on hot food service, to lock out small businesses. Since they already serve all the hot dinners and fresh specialty items we all eat, there’s no threat to their business from coffee stands and snack vendors. There’s even room to stretch the rules a little and let the Wit’s End serve hot sandwiches and soups; students serving up chicken soup could hardly run Sodexho into the ground.

There is ample room on campus for small businesses, run by students or from the local community, to spring up and reward students and the campus with their initiatives and unique personalities.

Now that the Campus Center has proved its mettle and Sodexho has completed the move into their new 700-seat facility, it’s time to open up the campus to new food and drinks opportunities.

Let’s move away from the homogenization of our food and drink and level the playing field a little.