Editorial: Groceries too far from students

Fresh foods should be less than a bus ride away for students.

Students have to find a ride to one of the city’s grocery stores if they don’t have a meal plan or personal mode of transportation. Potential Master Plan Thesis changes, which were proposed by NIU administration to spruce up campus, can open opportunities for a small market store in the Holmes Student Center or another part of campus, which would be more accessible to students.

Master Plan Thesis changes provide just one way to incorporate a grocery store, but local gardeners and the city can get involved, too.

The Master Plan Thesis proposes “mixed use” buildings near John and Locust streets, which is close to campus. These buildings can house a store on the first floor and an apartment on the second.

If a small market with fresh foods could be housed in one of these buildings, it would be within walking distance for many students. Paul Palian, director of media and public relations, said NIU would want to work with city officials to create this kind of store if it becomes a possibility. If it were in a residential neighborhood, the city could help.

But, if a market were in the Holmes Student Center, it would be accessible to even more students. NIU would need to run it, and it could choose to shut down when schools aren’t in session, which would save money.

The DeKalb County Community Gardens could be involved, too. If a small market opens up, it could sell fresh food with profits going back to the organization. If a store isn’t approved, the gardens organization could hold farmer’s markets or booths on campus.

Students need convenient options to eat healthy. These solutions aren’t perfect and will require work, but they are options the community should consider.