Follett takes over Titan store.
Fall term heralded a number of changes at Lane Community College. The first-year students may not have noticed, but the returning students found many welcomed adjustments made over the summer. However, as some students were excited to see a more lively cafeteria, others experienced some growing pains.
Over a tumultuous couple of years, the food services have yet to see a profit. Last year, more than two-thirds of the food court sat empty.
The Torch wrote a three-part series last year covering the cuts made to food services, the Titan Store, and the bookstore.
On April 11, 2019, The LCC Board of Education voted to outsource the food court to locally owned businesses.
“Last year was a struggle, but at the end when the air cleared we now have locally sourced vendors serving food,” Hamilton said.
The first among the new additions is Bartolotti’s Pizza Bistro. The pizza oven went unused for the majority of the 2018-2019 school year, but according to Bartolotti’s employee Jennifer Perez, the first day showed promise.
“[It was] a tremendous success,” Perez said. Currently, Bartolotti’s is operating on a partial menu but hopes to change that soon. “We hope to eventually expand our menu,” Perez said.
The pizzeria that started out as a food truck in South Eugene has now grown into a thriving local business with a storefront in downtown Springfield.
Among the other new food vendors are Doug’s Place and Taco Intrusion. Also locally owned, Doug’s Place offers hamburgers, chicken strips, and teriyaki combos, with vegan and vegetarian options.
Taco Incursion is a locally wandering food truck. They offer Mexican style dishes like burritos and tacos.
Apart from the additions to the dining area in the Center Building, LCC now has student lounges in the space connecting Buildings 1 and 18. The space was upgraded after being underutilized for years. Fitted with charging kiosks — so students can make sure to always have a full battery on their devices — the rooms are designed for a social environment.
However, not every change made during the summer went smoothly. In June 2019, the front runner to take over the Titan Store was Barnes & Noble College.
The deal was all but settled when Follett made a deal President Hamilton couldn’t refuse.
“That was the criteria,” Hamilton explained. “[They] hire students, OER [Open Educational Resources] is always first, and keep grab-and-go food.”
The transition was nearly seamless and went unnoticed by many students. However, Follett had not submitted an application to be able to accept EBT before the start of the school year.
EBT cards are for those who receive financial assistance from the federal government. According to the Federal Reserve, one in five people in Lane County use EBT cards.
“We are trying, believe me,” said Titan Store Manager David Frederick.
Last year EBT cards were accepted at the Titan Store. When the store switched to Follett, the EBT service was terminated and Follett had to reapply for EBT services, this left many students searching for other options for food.
The application was submitted during the second week of the fall term. The Titan Store is expecting an estimate of three weeks for the processing to be complete.
If students are in need of food there are more options.
The Rainy Day Food Pantry in the basement of the Center Building is moving to the first floor. Because of this, hours are limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. until the new location on the first floor of the Center Building is open.
For TRiO and STEM students, vouchers are available at the TRiO offices and Center for Accessible Resources. Other departments on campus offer healthy snacks for students, such as Student Success, CAR, and Health Professions according to the dean of student success Lida Herburger.
The college faculty recognizes the importance of EBT for students. “I’m proud of the way faculty came together,” said Jane Reeder the director of the TRiO Stem program. Reeder noted that the staff is doing all they can to make sure students in need won’t go hungry.
“Everyone across the college is pitching in,” Reeder said. Faculty at LCC are trying their best to support students in need until the application for EBT is fully processed.