As negotiations between the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and CJSF to potentially house the campus radio station in Forum Chambers continue, vegan lunch service Veggie Lunch is facing possible displacement from the space and looking for another location on campus to continue serving food to students.
Finding new space
In the SFSS Board of Directors meeting held on May 11, the Board discussed the anticipated relocation of different groups while passing a motion to allocate $20,000 towards the redesign of Forum Chambers. The redesign is intended to make the space suitable for housing the radio group. While the needs of the dance and music groups that often book Forum Chambers are planned to be met through designated rehearsal rooms in the new Student Union Building (SUB), options for the relocation of Veggie Lunch were less clear.
“If the radio station goes in there, then yes, we’d have to tell [Veggie Lunch] that they would need to find somewhere else on campus to go,” stated SFSS Chief Executive Officer Martin Wyant.
In an interview with The Peak, Veggie Lunch coordinator Kalarupini Koraljka Roy expressed concerns over the uncertain future of the lunch service: “I can feel that changes are going to happen,” she said, referring to the Forum Chambers redesign. To renovate the Forum Chambers in time for CJSF to move in before the opening of the SUB, which is projected to be fall 2018, Roy anticipates that the Forum Chambers will not be available for use by Veggie Lunch as early as the fall term.
As for Veggie Lunch’s fate after the Forum Chambers becomes unavailable, Roy stated that she has not had communication with the SFSS regarding her future options for space. “I am concerned because nobody is talking to me and I can see that people are going forward with their project,” she stated.
“My guess is that nobody is telling me anything because I expect once this happens, there won’t be anymore spot [sic] for me.” – Kalarupini Koraljka Roy, Veggie Lunch coordinator
Veggie Lunch currently pays $35 per day to rent out the Forum Chambers on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:30 to 2:30 and serve food to students. According to Roy, on an ideal day the service will make approximately $350, which allows her to cover her expenses for food and rent. While Roy has not been able to contact the SFSS for what it may cost for Veggie Lunch to operate in the SUB, she expects that she will not be able to afford the cost of rent.
The Peak reached out to SFSS for a comment on the potential space options that can host Veggie Lunch on campus if they are evicted from Forum Chambers, but we received no response by the date of publication of this article.
Previous requests for space
According to Roy, this is not the first time she has experienced strenuous communications with the SFSS. In fall 2016 Kala asked the SFSS for a fourth day to rent out Forum Chambers and serve Veggie Lunch on campus after receiving requests from customers to increase their weekly service on campus. She recalled being told to gather signatures from members of the SFU community who supported this proposal, and she did so, collecting over 250 signatures which she submitted to the SFSS as part of her proposal.
“I think that was the whole point that [the proposal] was supposed to be presented to the Board [of Directors]. And then that person Martin Wyant was supposed to meet me [with the final decision],” she said.
The Peak reached out to SFSS to follow up on how the Veggie Lunch proposal was received by the Board of Directors, but we received no response by the date of publication of this article.
Following her submission, Roy was called into a meeting with Wyant to discuss the proposal. When The Peak inquired about the course of the meeting that took place, Roy stated that “it got complicated.”
After her meeting, Roy decided not to continue pursuing an extra day for Veggie Lunch. “We just decided to let it be. Not mention it. We just went into next term with our three days,” she said. “I was wondering if somebody was gonna come in and ask me anything. Nobody did.”
“Nobody asked, I didn’t ask.”
When The Peak followed up in an email interview with Wyant regarding the meeting held with Roy, he responded, “I certainly recall a meeting with Kala and one of our Coordinators. I’m not sure what is meant by the ‘things got complicated’ comment, but I would be happy to meet with Kala again to determine how best to proceed with her request.”
Looking for more exposure
Veggie Lunch has been operating on SFU Burnaby campus for the past 25 years, and Roy has been the main coordinator of the service for the past seven years. Despite its history on campus, Roy believes the service is relatively unknown on campus to most students.
“There are people who are here for years studying and they don’t know we’re here.” – Kalarupini Koraljka Roy, Veggie Lunch coordinator
According to Roy, the service is “invisible” on campus, and she expressed concern that a relocation to a more remote location might hinder the service’s ability to reach students and make enough money to sustain itself even more.
Veggie Lunch is currently not mentioned on SFU’s Campus Dining Map. “Whoever comes, it’s always word of mouth [sic], she said. “So it would be nice if we could get some support [from the university].”
When asked for her perspective on what a suitable solution to Veggie Lunch’s current situation could be, Roy replied, “Just to get a little space with water and electricity where people can come and still have Veggie Lunch.”