Campus food does not match diversity of student population

Anyone who has lived in the U.S. for a long period of time is immune and accustomed to the food, and probably can deal with what is provided in Pullman and at our university.

For an international student attending WSU, everything is new and different, and the food has more of an impression on them than you may think.

Imagine coming from a country where everything is prepared fresh and right in front of your eyes, and an extensive assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables are unquestionably accessible, because that’s the only option.

Salwa Al-Arimi, an international student from Dubai and International Center intern, spends much time at the CUB and struggled transitioning to the food here until she learned how to cook.

“They should have a good presentation of cultures and food, but they’re not doing that.” Al-Arimi said. “There’s maybe Mexican or Italian, but it’s still an awful representation of those main cultures.”

As a school that pushes globalization among students, WSU fails to do so right here on our own campus when it comes to food. Panda Express is Chinese-American, Carlita’s is Mexican and Pizza Pipeline is Italian, but many other cultures are still left out.

Food is comforting, and without access to quick, delicious and healthy meals, it can be frustrating for many students and faculty, both of which have opened up to me about those grievances in casual conversations.

As busy college students, there’s no doubt that we need to be able to purchase nutritious food on campus.

Many international students would like to simply enjoy good food while studying. If they choose to cook in order to have a taste of home, it’s still a battle for them to find the necessary ingredients near Pullman.

There are international students who have transferred because of the lack of food choices, even the lines for food discourage many people in the CUB from eating at all, Al-Arimi said.

“You are a student here for four years or five, and you have the same few restaurants upstairs.” Al-Arimi said. “Yeah, there’s the dining hall, but (the CUB) is the main building. You get sick of it and bored with it. It’s not good either, the taste of it, nothing is good about it.”

We all know how disappointing it feels when you’re starving after a long, productive day, and you finally have just enough time to grab a bite, but whatever you ordered leaves you completely unsatisfied. This is the reality many of us are facing on a daily basis.

Food heavily influences an individual’s mood, feelings and – whether you believe it or not – it defines who we are. With this inability to express ourselves in our dining choices, it can leave many of us feeling empty, especially our fellow international students who truly love the university, just not the food.

The experiences they have with food during their time here should be a concern for everyone. They are able to recognize problems within our food culture that many of us have adapted to and consider normal by now.

We, as students who pay serious money to attend WSU, should be questioning why such a prestigious and diverse university is not continuously focusing their attention on expanding and improving the quality of food offered in the CUB, where a huge majority of us spend our time.

I speak for myself and many of the students here in saying we would like to see more variety by incorporating fresh food from other cultures to match the diversity of the students and give the campus a little more flavor.