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Do we really need a pizza place in MacHall?

By Srija Dharwadkar, March 5 2019 —

A mainstay at any on-campus club meeting is pizza. Many of us have found ourselves in club meetings that we have no intention — or at best, minimal interest — on joining, but we’ll sign up for the club’s mailing list then make the trek from any corner of the campus to enjoy a slice or two of free pizza. All this is made possible by Dominos’ beloved 50-per-cent-off student discount. Affordable and cheap, though somewhat lacking in quality, these preservative-pumped pies have provided sustenance for many a university student.

With the availability of delivered pizza, frozen pizza and pizza-derived products, I’ve never found myself wondering why there wasn’t yet another place where I could get a slice. Which begs the question: Is another pizza place on campus necessary? Well, we’re getting one.

On the plus side, U-Toppings Pizza will be right in the heart of the University of Calgary, replacing Pita on the Run in MacHall, making it convenient location.

While pizza is a college student go-to, we can all agree that a cheesy, greasy slice is the last thing you need in terms of nutrition. According to a report by the World Obesity Federation, 34 per cent of Canadians will suffer from obesity by 2025. As university students struggle with finding time to cook for themselves, we are heavily reliant on the quick-service restaurants on campus. However, the lack of healthy food options makes it harder for students to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This may be exacerbated by a new pizza place as very few pizza restaurants serve healthy options. More likely than not, this new vendor will be more of the same. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it might not have been exactly what you were hoping for. Nonetheless, it won’t be better than its predecessor.

If you are a Muslim on campus, you might have been one of the few students who patronized Pita on the Run. Despite it being one of the most disdained eateries on campus, it was an anomaly in MacHall owing to the fact that it served halal food. Now, you might find yourself hoping that this new establishment will serve halal meat after years of needing to eat vegetarian. I personally don’t have high hopes.

Despite its numerous shortcomings, Pita on the Run provided options for the substantial Muslim population on campus that only ate halal. Although it was only vaguely Middle Eastern — and by no means did it serve authentic Arabic cuisine — the concept of having food from another part of the world was good. Middle Eastern food is one of my favourite cuisines and has a lot of potential in terms of the street food arena, from shawarma to kebabs.

The lack of food diversity in MacHall is a constant complaint on campus. Replacing Pita on the Run with a pizza place won’t solve this issue.

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