Baruch College officially opened Avenue C: Food and Beverage Market on Oct. 31. The market provides fresh food and beverages in user-friendly kiosks and employs a self-checkout system for faster service.
At first glance, students see a beverage maker that offers coffee and other hot drinks. Refrigerators hold salads, sandwiches and packaged foods, like carrots and cheese cubes. In addition to major credit cards, the self-checkout counter accepts a preloaded balance kept on a customized account that requires a fingerprint to access.
Avenue C is a success because it accommodates the needs of most students. The variety is pleasantly surprising. This means that students and faculty members could grab a salad, sandwich, beverage and dessert, while still having a full, satisfying and affordable lunch. Students can treat themselves to something sweet in between classes or make themselves a cup of coffee as a pick-me-up.
Avenue C has an impressive range of healthy options as well. Many students leave campus to pick up lunch at a quick and casual place. Some major restaurant chains sell foods that are loaded with an astronomical amount of calories, which can add up as the semester continues.
The most beneficial aspect of Avenue C is that it is located on the first floor of the Newman Vertical Campus—students do not even have to leave the campus to get food. This is especially helpful as the frigid winter season approaches. Instead of braving the weather outside, students are simply able to take the escalator down to Avenue C. This cuts down on walking time, as students can avoid going to a grill or a deli outside of Baruch. Instead, they have more time to eat before their next class.
Despite its benefits, a self-checkout may be difficult to figure out initially because it is up to users to make sure that the machine appropriately scans the food. The screens and the checkout system can be confusing to navigate, but there always seems to be a worker nearby to help out.
Avenue C is a positive step in the right direction, but several alterations can enhance its services. Installing a help button near the checkout center would be useful for newcomers. Avenue C should also be mindful of every student’s needs by providing kosher and vegetarian choices, as well as options for people who have allergies to gluten or nuts. Sandwich and salad options can be expanded to offer a greater array of choices.
Avenue C would be able to win over more students by providing a breakfast menu. Since the cafeteria is open Monday through Friday starting at 7:30 a.m., it could conveniently provide breakfast options to hungry students. Attending college in the city that never sleeps means that morning rushes are inevitable, so busy students can breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to pick up their breakfast before class.
Although there are some minor qualms with the system, the addition of this indoor “cafeteria” finally gives Baruch a sense of the traditional college campus. Avenue C is an achievement for Baruch, but its benefits should definitely be extended to students with dietary restrictions.