May: For whom the (Taco) Bell tolls — remembering WSU’s cheapest dining option


Evan Pflugradt

Taco Bell in the Rhatigan Student Center, file photo 2017.

It’s been three semesters since one of the most important aspects of Wichita State’s campus vanished — leaving behind only a shell of what once had been. Of course I’m talking about the Taco Bell Express that once greeted starving students in the Rhatigan Student Center.

For most students, the passing of arguably the best — or at least the cheapest — dining option on campus left little to no impact on their day-to-day lives, but I took it as a personal attack.

I went from enjoying a quesadilla two to three times a week at a cozy booth in the RSC to either paying more for relatively disappointing food or choosing to drive 3.1 miles to the nearest Taco Bell off campus — risking my parking spot in the mid-day rush.

The other food choices in the RSC are great, even more so this year, but nothing quite compares to a beefy five-layer burrito when you’re cramming for that big calc test. Not to mention the sharp rise in cost. I used to eat lunch on campus for under $5 easily, but that’s simply not realistic anymore. Now, if I can survive lunch without spending $8, I’ve done well for myself — even if it was for much higher quality food.

Why would we even get rid of Taco Bell in the first place? Following the 2016-2017 school year, WSU switched food service providers from Sodexo to Chartwells, paving the way for Sono to “replace” Taco Bell last year. Although Sono was good, it was more of a Chipotle-esque option, costing significantly more than students had become accustomed to in previous years. This led to the removal of Sono this year, replaced by the constantly packed Panda Express.

Although I love both Panda and Freddy’s, they simply cannot stack up with the delicious simplicity of Taco Bell. Even though orange chicken has been known to power me through a study session, there is no replacing Taco Bell in my heart, or frankly, in my stomach.