Editorial: Subway sends campus backward

The new Subway on campus, located next to the City Café. The location was previously the spot of a teachers lounge. | Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson · vanessanelson.express@gmail.com

City College is a constantly shifting community. Many students pass through in just a couple of years, much faster than a typical four-year university.

Extinct campus clubs illustrate starkly this turnover. There are about 30 chartered student clubs. A 2015 list names 139 student clubs, only 10 of which are still extant. More than 100 clubs have vanished since 2004. Students and advisers are in a constant struggle to build their own communities on campus.

Three years ago the Student Services building didn’t even exist.

It’s the nature of the college — it’s difficult to make something that lasts when so many people filter through.

That uncertainty amplifies the significance of permanent changes to campus: new buildings, new programs, new services. It’s easy to view the college as a constant entity that simply exists, but it’s largely in the hands of a number of motivated stewards.

That’s why it’s important to closely evaluate the changes that are happening on campus.

Since the 100-year anniversary of the college, there are a number of them coming down the pipeline. To start with the good: Makerspace is coming to campus starting next semester. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a lab where students will be able to access a multitude of tools designed for creating things.

It carves out a space to give students an incredibly relevant resource. As the proverb states: Give people a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, and you’ll feed them for a lifetime. Set them loose in Makerspace, and who knows what they’ll come up with.

This is one of those changes that will affect countless people. It will be an incredible improvement to the campus, a definite step toward progress.

Another recently introduced change deserves a shout-out. The RISE food distribution, which started in March 2016, is an example of the campus transforming itself to meet student needs. Weekly, students can go through a hassle-free process to get free food.

When an enormous percentage of community college students are homeless, when rent is skyrocketing and it’s hard to keep a roof over your head, the RISE food distribution is the kind of help students desperately need. Students shouldn’t have to worry about having enough to eat, or choose between paying rent and buying healthy food.

In other news, City College is about to become home to a Subway restaurant on campus. In Sacramento, America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, City College is welcoming the largest fast food chain in the world.

It’s hard to beat the convenience and price of a fast food restaurant, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for City College. Subway means more competition for local restaurants. It supports an enormous corporation with enormous supply chains, and the carbon emissions that come with trucking in food from far away sources.

It’s a little late to criticize the move, since its opening is imminent, but Subway should not have been welcomed to campus with open arms. Efforts should have been made to find a restaurant that sources local food and is a healthy option for students. Instead, we’re stuck with a fast food option for an interminable length.

Subway should never have found a home here. Call it a distrust for sprawling corporations, or an overzealous environmental view, but the college deserves better than being branded with the yellow and green corporate logo of a fast food giant.

In a community where so much stays the same, any permanent change has a lasting impact. Right now, a number of changes are taking the college in the right direction, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, we’re about to be saddled with a change that takes the campus a step backward. The college deserves better, and in the future, change-makers must ask themselves: Is this moving City College forward? In the case of Subway, the answer is no.