Point: Should Schreiber allow independent vendors to sell food in the cafeteria?

Abraham Franchetti, Staff Writer

For decades in American schools, students have been disappointed by the food provided. Despite recent attempts included in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Program, which focused on raising nutrition standards in schools, many students still find the provided food unsatisfactory or unappealing. Many of the arguments for increased lunch quality are based on the notion that a better fed, and thus healthier, community would ultimately learn better.

“Accessible, high-quality food is important to have a productive school and student body,” said sophomore Andrew Ollendorf.

Time and time again, the global economy has demonstrated that competition leads to lower prices and higher quality. Unfortunately, these principles are often barred from schools. In fact, the high costs of delivery services and policies banning students from leaving school during the day ensure this. By increasing access to better food on campus, the school could solve a variety of problems.

The school diverts considerable resources and personnel towards keeping underclassmen on campus, and yet many still leave. The primary reason for leaving midday is seeking food at a variety of local businesses on Main Street and Port Boulevard. By allowing food to be sold by independent vendors at Schreiber, a pull factor for people to leave school is
removed. This will reduce the number of kids breaking the rules and allow for a better distribution of resources. Although the school’s cafeteria makes a variety of foods every day, there is little to no ethnic or cultural representation.

“Students can feel limited by the options that Schreiber presents, so if outside vendors sell food at Schreiber, it can make kids feel more comfortable with options. And, they’ll be exposed to more cultures and tastes,” said sophomore Olivia Platt.

Increasing access to a variety of foods contributes to and emphasizes Port Washington’s diversity. By introducing independent vendors, we also ease the financial burden on students. Vendors competing for patronage often leads to decreased prices and better deals for consumers. For many students, bringing lunch from home is not an option, and it is not as if students can buy food from neighboring schools’ cafeterias. However, an accessible substitute in the form of local businesses will provide an alternative for students who do not have one. Crowding in the school cafeteria, both at tables and for purchasing food is also a major problem for many students.

“The lunch line isn’t managed well, especially during 4.1 when it’s so crowded. It shouldn’t take 15 minutes to buy lunch,” said sophomore Sam Nachimson.

Since eating in the hallways has been abolished, the cafeteria has become increasingly more crowded, leading to disputes over chairs and table space. Extensive lines cause students to be rushed while eating. By selling food from local establishments, this issue could be ameliorated. This could also increase the number of students eating outdoors, which is a goal in itself, given how little time today’s teens spend inside.

The benefits of increased food access does not stop at students, it also applies to Schreiber faculty and staff. While many teachers have to leave school to get a quality hot meal, some have to settle for a worse option because of their busy schedule. By increasing food availability, teachers would also be given access to better nutrition. There is also a clear benefit for local businesses. As chains and food delivery services encroach on their market share, it is the duty of the local government to provide opportunities to local businesses.

“Selling food at Schreiber allows for more job opportunities and support keeping open local businesses,” said sophomore Charlie Bosworth. We can help promote a healthier community overall by increasing the ties that high schoolers have to local businesses.

All in all, we will be improving the quality of life for students and teachers. Lunch is a critical part of the day: nutritionally, socially, and mentally. By providing all these benefits, students will go on to achieve more and learn better on a full stomach.