The ASUC Senate unanimously voiced its support to grant the Berkeley Student Food Collective a vendor space in the new Lower Sproul by passing Senate Bill 47 at its Wednesday meeting, barring one abstention.
Prior to the passage of SB 47, a similar bill, SB 136, was passed last spring. At the time, the food collective was focused on taking over the Cal 1 Card office space in the Cesar Chavez Student Center upon its potential relocation. According to SB 47, however, the Cal 1 Card office is not currently available to the food collective.
Candice Rankin, policy director of the food collective, said SB 47, which has stronger language than SB 136, shows continued support for the collective and shifts its focus to a vendor space on the new Lower Sproul.
“SB 47 addresses many of the philosophical and strategic foundations undergirding the Lower Sproul Redevelopment Project, which support the concept of a ‘student-run business’ in the New Lower Sproul and food service vendors that serve the community and do more for students than just be a restaurant,” said Austin Pritzkat, ASUC President DeeJay Pepito’s chief of staff, in an email.
With its move to Lower Sproul, the food collective would bring education programming, a DeCal, a teaching kitchen, produce boxes and student-run catering to campus.
ASUC Executive Vice President Nolan Pack said the food collective, which is one of a few of its kind, would add a unique presence to Lower Sproul.
“So few universities have well-integrated and highly visible cooperatives in their centers for student life. Putting the BSFC in Lower Sproul would showcase UC Berkeley’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and cooperation,” Pack said in an email.
According to ASUC Director of Sustainability Haley Broder, the UC Berkeley environmental community is already excited about this potential development.
“The university is really proud of (the food collective) but does not yet support it financially,” Broder said. “We can call (UC Berkeley) a regenerative campus, but we can go beyond the words with backing up the BSFC’s move to campus.”
The bill also requests that Chartwells, the food service manager that is contracting the vendor spaces in the new Lower Sproul, include the food collective in its food service vendor student survey, set to be released later this semester.
Rankin also said the bill is somewhat symbolic — it is ultimately up to the Commercial and Student Services Board, a mixture of students and staff that make up the ASUC’s main operating board, to decide whether a vendor space should be allocated to the collective. That being said, Rankin believes the opinions of the greater student body should be taken into consideration.
The food collective will keep in contact with Chartwells and the ASUC Auxiliary until the board makes its final decisions.