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‘Mindful Menus’: UoA to Offer Free Breakfast to Students

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Free porridge and hot drinks part of University campaign to combat rising cost of living

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

courtesy of Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

The University is launching a new scheme to keep students fed throughout the remainder of the first term. Originally announced on Twitter by Deputy Director of People Nick Edwards, The Gaudie has confirmed that the University has committed to offering several discounted or free food options in their cafes.

Edwards, who credited the University catering team and student leaders for the scheme, told The Gaudie, ‘“Every day in our Macrobert and Suttie cafes, and the Students Union Building ‘Crisp’ outlet, soup will be available for 50p over lunchtime (11.30am to 1.30pm). Soup options will be vegetarian.’

‘We will also offer a free bowl of porridge and a filter coffee or tea on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, until 9.45am, from the Aberbean Cafes at Suttie Centre and MacRobert and Sgt Peppers in the Food Court of the Student Union Building.’

To qualify for the free breakfast offer, students need to show their student ID to cafe staff. The discounted soup can be purchased through the kiosks at the food court, or as normal in the MacRobert and Suttie cafes.

Edwards commented, ‘As part of our ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of our students and staff we want to ensure we are able to offer support during the cost of living crisis that makes things a little easier on a daily basis. Our mindful menu options mean that everyone can have a warm meal at lunch and that twice a week students can have a hot breakfast and drink on us.’

Edwards continued, telling The Gaudie that the scheme is an important part of the University’s 2040 plan. He said, ‘An aim of our Aberdeen 2040 plan is to support the wellbeing and health of our community and ensuring we can provide a range of catering options, including our new 50p soup and free student breakfasts twice a week, means that students can be sure of a quick, convenient lunch on campus every day of the working week.’

‘This is combined with a range of other activities, events and support… aim to ensure we can proactively advise students on budgeting, money matters and self-care and also support those who need it when they experience unexpected hardship. We know that these small changes won’t overturn the impact of the whole cost of living crisis, but hope they are a small gesture of support over the winter period.’

According to a report released by the Government in late October; the consumer prices index (CPI), a key measure of inflation, reached 10.1% in September, the highest mark since the early 1980s. This, coupled with a 96% increase in fuel prices and 54% rise in electricity costs, has led to widespread anxiety as the cold months of winter draw near.

Alongside the University catering team, AUSA played an important role in formulating the free breakfast scheme. Sai Shraddha S. Viswanathan, Students’ Union Vice President for Welfare said: “We’ve been a part of the ‘Cost of living working group’ along with University staff from different departments. In these meetings, Vanessa, Student President, and myself have been pushing for everyone to see the students’ perspective of life during a cost of living crisis. The breakfasts are a great start and we are interested to see if the community gets involved. We are continuously pushing the University to do more and we are introducing our own initiatives.’

According to Viswanathan, current initiatives include increasing opening hours at the Student Union Building, expanding the Foodsharing Hub, and featuring a list of part time jobs at the University and local businesses on the AUSA website.

‘While this work is ongoing, it’s vital that the Government also steps in and provides more protection for students. Rent controls, more hardship funds (particularly for international students)

and an increase in student loans are essential.’


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