Confusion at the C-Store

Changes with Simply To-Go cause frustration among students

David Armour, Staff Writer

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the C-Store was a Gwinn away from Gwinn, where students could avoid the longer lines or busy tables of the main meal hall and pick up sandwiches and other simple meals to go with a single meal swipe. Many students at Seattle Pacific University came to believe that the evening C-Store meals were here to stay, but quickly came to realize that would not be the case.

Andrew Chaplin, general manager of the SPU dining team discussed his thoughts on the matter.

“We went back to the way the program was before COVID, within partnership with the university,” Chaplin explained. “It was expanded during COVID because of the limited seating and social distancing. We could only fit so many people in Gwinn, so we expanded the C-Store to make up for it.” 

This year marks the end of many of SPU’s COVID precautions, which also means that the C-Store meal swipe program is taking a big cut as well and will no longer be available after 4 p.m. on weekdays.

The shelves of the C-Store freezers empty. (Shianne Heeraman)

That being said, there have also been expansions to the meal program thanks to feedback from students.

“We added breakfast options this quarter in response to some feedback we received. When this was originally created, this was designed as a lunch replacement due to the lines to get into Gwinn,” Chaplin stated. “In Gwinn, we have also added a reusable container for takeout that all students can use to alleviate the seating issues and lines.”

The C-Store’s Simply to Go program, which offers packaged meals, has also been understocked in recent weeks, causing issues among students who do arrive at the designated hours.

“The shrinking stock is entirely because of the supply chain and the inability for the delivery company to supply our stocks,” Chaplin said. “We’re working on ways to begin making the food in-house so we can be less reliant on deliveries of the product.”

Third year accounting major Trace Evans is disappointed with the C-Store’s low stock.

“Sometimes, between my basketball practice and my 9 a.m. class, I try to go to the C-Store to get something for breakfast,” Evans said. “I don’t have time for Einstein’s, but there’s nothing stocked. When this happens, I’m hungry and I can’t concentrate as hard.”

Other students, including Maxwell Hayden, a third year politics, philosophy and economics major, are more concerned about the limited time that Simply To-Go meals are available.

“A meal swipe program that doesn’t serve a third of all meals – I just fail to see the logic in that,” Hayden said. 

Nursing major and first year student Alexias Sandoval sympathizes with students that have tight schedules.

“I’ve heard that the meal swipes don’t work after 4, which is disappointing for those who don’t have time to go to Gwinn and eat,” Sandoval said. “My friend that works at the store says that a lot of people come in and ask if they can use meal swipes but don’t have enough dining dollars to pay for a meal.”

Ultimately, students are frustrated that it has been so difficult to get food this year.

“Classes may not run through the evening, but plenty of extracurriculars are demanding enough to warrant a grab-and-go meal,” Hayden said. “Why hinder people’s ability to live life outside of school hours?”