Here at Queens College, there are a variety of eating options to choose from. The 16,000 students on campus get to choose from The Knight Diner, the Columbian restaurant, Au Bon Pain, various Shah Halal carts, and Starbucks cafes in a few buildings. It seems like Queens College has got it all figured out–except for kosher catering.
Since January 2019, the kosher dining area on campus, The Dairy Stop, was forced to shut down due to the end of their lease. This has left nearly 4,000 Jewish students on campus without a viable food option, with at least 1,000 students who are exclusively kosher. This has made kosher students unable to buy food that is easy to grab, whether it’s an entire meal or even a quick snack. The college has attempted to mend this situation by stocking two to three fridges, in the Student Union and the Science Building with kosher sandwiches and sushi. However, these products are all way overpriced for what students pay for: limited selections that are usually expired. A box of sushi or a sandwich is roughly priced the same at $7.51.
To counteract this issue, some students have created a WhatsApp group chat called “UberYeets QC.” This group chat was made to order food out from the local kosher eateries on Main Street. Unfortunately, ordering food out can be a hassle due to getting enough people to go in on an order or agreeing where to even order from. In addition, sometimes the restaurants will mess up their orders or come too late, overlapping with their class schedules. Therefore, despite it being a solution, it is nowhere near convenient.
Now in the middle of the Fall 2019 semester, kosher-observant students still do not have a viable or permanent solution. Jenna Citron, Executive Director of Queens College Hillel, says, “It is unfair to students, as a majority of [them] are commuters, not having the right food options affects the students to learn and do well in classes.” It even makes it hard to socialize when one is unable to eat due to food scarcity.
Michael Kolber, a junior majoring in computer science says, “Even though there is kosher food on campus, the food is far too expensive. A sandwich alone should not cost nine dollars, but there is no other food available for Jewish students.” Such high prices for food is too much for college students to spend on a sandwich regularly, likely leaving many to go without. Elisheva Sternglass, a senior majoring in History, says, “The college needs to prioritize Kosher observant students, as 1,000 students are. We only receive a small fridge for food. It is just unfair.”
After all these issues, a solution may have been reached. A kosher food truck has received permits to come to Queens College and rumor has it that a kosher sushi shop is to open in the cafeteria. However, none of these options have come to fruition. It has been nearly a year since hot, fresh and reasonably priced kosher food has been sold on campus and simply, it is unacceptable.