Student opinion: The benefits of open campus lunch

School lunches aren’t always everyone’s first choice. Sometimes students have to choose between things that they don’t like, especially if they don’t bring their own lunches. There is a solution to this, open campus lunch, which would be beneficial for several reasons.

Open campus lunches give students the option to leave the school’s campus during their lunch period in order to purchase food and beverages elsewhere or go home to eat. Some students see open campus lunches as favorable compared to closed campuses, which I can agree with.

Photo illustration by Bella Tederman and Libby Winn

Open campus could give students the option to get the food they want or need. While there is only a 30-minute lunch period, that could still give students enough time to go by Cubby’s or one of the restaurants in town and order lunch. There wouldn’t be enough time to leave the town and go anywhere like Omaha or Wahoo, but it would still give students more options.

One benefit is how it would give students more options than school lunches can provide since the school has restrictions. Due to the limitations, school lunches aren’t always going to be appealing to everyone.

“I think open campus lunches are very beneficial because students get to pick from a wider variety of foods, and they can switch it up every day,” one freshman said.

Another student expressed how they felt about being an athlete with school lunches and how it affects their choices as well. 

“[As an athlete] you need more protein and more carbs than what a school lunch can give you,” one sophomore said.

Open campus could also be useful in case students that bring their own lunches forget them at home and don’t want what is on the menu or didn’t sign up for hot lunch in the morning. A large part of the appeal is the bigger variety of options, and the pressure that could be taken off the school when they need to make large amounts of food. 

Another benefit would be that open campus would help the community.

“I think it would be a good way to boost the economy of our community,” the sophomore said. “If we had more food places, the students would be able to support them.”

When weighing the options, both pros and cons both need to be taken into consideration. Since the students can leave school, they would be unsupervised and might get into trouble. There could also be a worry about potential vaping or drug use during that time.

“A lot of teachers and administrators would be afraid that students wouldn’t come back after lunch and that they would just leave,” the sophomore said. “Honestly, I don’t think it would be that much of an issue because, if they were going to leave after lunch, why would they come in the first place?”

However, there is still a chance for students to be tardy to their class periods that come after their lunch period. To avoid this, instead of eating at whichever place the students choose, they could get their food and take it back to the school building. Otherwise, lunch periods might have to be lengthened for the worry of tardies. After all, even while having closed campus, some students struggle to finish their lunch before the lunch period ends.

While this doesn’t look like it will happen now, it could be an interesting and beneficial option to look into for the future. Open campus could be a great way to ensure that students get the food they need.