Cancel Takeout Plans

Opening a Panda Express may be financially beneficial to the campus, but the chain does not belong on Sproul.

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Kung Pao Chicken is a popular choice from the Panda Express to-go menu, but the prudent choice is to order the chain restaurant to go look for another venue.

The ASUC Store Operations Board recently approved the company's intention to move to Lower Sproul Plaza, bringing Panda Express a step closer to opening up a site on campus. Chinese fast-food options may be popular among UC Berkeley students, but before breaking out the chopsticks, chew on the consequences of the move in of a takeout.

The ASUC is understandably trying to keep students' interests in mind. After all, it is difficult to turn down the $500,000 bonus that Panda Express has thrown in to be used on renovating the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. But the invasion of corporate chains is worrisome for a city that embraces the quaintness that can only be achieved by local businesses.

From fried rice to orange chicken, the unhealthy selection and limited vegetarian meals offered by Panda Express counters UC Berkeley's ongoing efforts to promote healthy dining options for all diets. The company is also unable to tout its use of organic produce, another trademark of the food on campus.

Inviting various fast-food chains to build a food court like UC San Diego's Price Center makes sense at a college devoid of eateries within walking distance. But countless restaurants can be found on the fringes of UC Berkeley, and an urban campus integrated into a bustling downtown area has no pressing need for another on-site restaurant.

While financial backing is a plus, other factors are worth considering before finalizing the decision. Adding another corporate chain to our community is not a priority, and perhaps a saying tucked into a fortune cookie sums it up best: "Every excess becomes a vice."

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