Where's the beef?

Instead of committing to completion of the food court, she wants to throw the kids a smaller bone. "There are things I believe can be done to make it an inviting place," she says. "I think the students would be happy with some vending machines and a place for them to gather. I would certainly be open to that. If the food court is not going to be self-sustaining, we can't do it."

"We go to the campus deli, and it's five bucks for a sandwich," Argueta complains. "We go downstairs, and you get hamburgers with soggy bread and brown lettuce for four dollars." And going off campus to, say, nearby Hempstead Turnpike, has its downside. "At lunch time," he says, "there are massive movements to head out to McDonald's and Burger King. The students come back and can't get their parking spaces and are late to class."

Currently, three small clusters of food services plus vending machines serve the entire campus. And even NCC administrators say vending machines won't cut it. They contend that the college is getting no respect. "Nassau Community College feeds more students to four-year institutions than any other college in New York," Tuggle points out.

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