Confusion surrounded the cafeteria in the first days of the fall 2022 semester as an unannounced change to the free meal program left students paying for meals they thought would be free. Student ID cards will now be needed to receive free meals in the cafeteria.

A student is at the cashier waiting to pay for his food using the student ID. Getting a student ID is recommended to get a free hot meal every day

A student waits to pay for his food in the Fullerton College cafeteria using his free meal credit. Getting a student ID is needed in order to receive this credit. Photo credit: Matthew Gonzalez

Since fall 2021, students could walk into the cafeteria and type in their ID number to receive a free meal. This year, however, students will be credited with $12 each day to use in the Campus Dining Hall. The credit will expire at the end of the day, so it will not carry over and accumulate. Also, simply typing in a student number will no longer work; a physical ID card is needed.

Current info on the free food, as of Thursday, August 25, on flyers

Current information on the free meal credit to be used in the Fullerton College cafeteria, as of Thursday, August 25. Photo credit: Fullerton College

Students may obtain their new ID cards in the Student Center recreation room in the lower floor of the 200 Building. Access to this room is through the patio area door.

Students must provide proof of registration and show ID (such as a driver’s license) in order to receive a student ID card. The main challenge with getting a new ID card is that lines have been long during the first week.

Fullerton College students wait in line at the ID production room at the 200 building Student Center on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Physical ID cards are now required to redeem free food at the cafeteria.

Fullerton College students wait in line at the ID production room at the 200 building Student Center on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Physical ID cards are now required to redeem free food at the cafeteria. Photo credit: Dana Rose Crystal

Theater arts major, Nate Baesel, paid cash for his meals for the first four days of school until he was informed of the change by a peer. He had little trouble obtaining an ID card, however, “the whole thing took me less than five minutes.”

An Administration of Justice major named John depended upon the free meals. Like many others, he experiences food insecurity and the free meals had been a significant help to his health and budget, so he was unhappy when he heard rumors about losing access to this service. Another student had to inform him of the $12 food credit because there was no announcement of the change.

There was no official information on the campus webpage and no signage to explain this change. The people running the information tables on the quad didn’t have much information during the first few days either. The first official announcement wasn’t until Thursday when flyers were put up and an accompanying post was made on the Fullerton College Twitter page.

The place where you can get a student ID is in room 214, located in the 200 building. A student ID is used to get a free hot meal every day or anything else

Fullerton College students can receive a free school ID in room 214, located in the 200 building. A student ID is necessary to get a free hot meal each day. Photo credit: Matthew Gonzalez

“The new technical backend of the free meals programs was finalized last week, and we need to do a big sweep to update information on the websites,” said Lisa McPheron, Director of Campus Communications.

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