Not every bear at Berkeley is a good bear, especially when this deceptively chubby and innocent panda (yeah, bamboo our ass) represents a commercial chain boasting scanty vegetarian entrees, not particularly environmentally friendly practices and downright shitty inauthentic Chinese food. Hey, at least they don’t have MSG right? That’s like one step away from going organic …

Last we checked, commercial fast food chains, especially ones offering food with copious amounts of grease and harrowing nutritional facts, not to mention styrofoam takeout boxes kind of defy Berkeley’s tradition of supporting small businesses, diversity, environmentally sustainable practices and somewhat healthy, kind of organic food (it is a college town after all).

According to the Daily Cal, “Panda has agreed to offer healthy food options on our campus. We are working with them to create a vegetarian option as well as a low-calorie menu.” Wow, a vegetarian menu option?

So you may be thinking, if adding a Panda to Lower Sproul is basically one goat vial away from Berkeley selling its soul to the capitalist devil (we picture capitalist hell as something like Black Friday mall shopping where everyone walks exceptionally slow and perfume is constantly sprayed in your face), then why let this evil bear roam free on our campus?

That’s right: money. Panda Express officials have indicated they will invest more than $500,000 into the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, as well as provide internship opportunities (um, like making Chow Mein?) to students and working wages to employees. Wow, you think they mean the minimum wage required by the state?

Anyway, everyone’s known about this for a while, but as of Wednesday, Panda Express and campus officials signed a letter of intent laying down the principles of the agreement and have agreed to officially begin contract negotiations. So it looks like soon there’ll be a bear on campus even uglier than Oski.

Image Source: craig1black under Creative Commons
Panda Express Begins Contract Talks to Open Campus Branch [Daily Cal]
Earlier: Panda Express on Campus: Ugh, Are You Serious?

Atter Cob said:
Dec 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Not every chain company is evil. This article came across as narrow-minded and demonstrates a clear prejudice against anything that does not fit some simplistic definition of a “good company” is. Some students want affordable food options on campus and enjoy an occasional high fat and carb meal. If you impose your ideals of what a healthy meal is on me, by taking away options, then your taking away my freedom to choose what I eat. Diversity means having both healthy and unhealthy choices. Berkeley students are educated enough to make an informed decision. Also, I’m pretty sure pandas are not bears… so the witty lead-in you have for the story just makes you sound ignorant.

Ruby Elizabeth Lee said:
Dec 7, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Actually, scientists have recently determined that the panda is indeed a bear: I agree that the snark content in this post is pretty high, however the aim of The Daily Clog is not objectivity.

Most Berkeley students are indeed capable of making informed food decisions and will do so regardless of whether Panda Express comes to campus, but I think that adding a very popular fast food chain to campus makes Berkeley more homogeneous, not more diverse. For the same price students can go to the Asian Ghetto and support small businesses and eat more authentic, but equally fatty food.

Of course all chain companies are evil, but you have to admit that this particular chain doesn’t fit very well with Berkeley’s values. UC Berkeley was the first U.S. campus to have an all-organic Dining facility and has a reputation for its environmentally sustainability. It’s no coincidence that Chipotle and Subway are the only fast food chains near campus (note that they are not on campus either).

Overall, the decision to add the Panda Express to campus would be compromising Berkeley’s morals for an economic gain.

yaman said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 12:14 am

Atter Cob has a weird argument, the kind current ASUC and Store Operations Board officials have been using to justify their decision. They assert that Panda Express has terrible food and substandard practices, but then they say that such a company should have the “freedom” to operate on campus because students should have the “freedom” to purchase from them. In so doing, they completely deny the fact that as officials, they have the responsibility to filter that same shittiness out of the process before they bring it to campus. Fine. If ASUC needs the money, and you’re willing to sell your soul to get it, say so. But don’t make up a false philosophical dilemma about “freedom” to justify your decision as a governor to sell out. Sounds like another cheap and transparent attempt to use Berkeleyish lingo to justify a very un-Berkeleyish decision.

Beetle said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 12:53 am

Getting a shitload of money and “freedom” are deeply intertwined when it comes to these things. Because students want to exercise their freedom to buy Panda Express, allowing them to do so brings in a shitload of money. If they didn’t want it, Panda Express wouldn’t want to come, and no money would be imminent. I don’t buy the idea that denying people the ability to make decisions you don’t want them to make is somehow “Berkeley morals,” and if so, they’re pretty crappy morals. Why are you in a better position to judge “Berkeley values” than the thousands of other students who are just as much a part of Berkeley as you are?

Panda said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 1:15 am

Finally, the Pandas coming to Berkeley. it’s about time.

Atter Cob said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 2:23 am

Buying cheap, Americanized-Chinese, fast food at some chain does not have anything to do with “compromising Berkeley’s morals”… that’s a plain stupid assertion. In it’s own way it’s just as bad as the prop-hate people who say that gay marriage will somehow cause 2nd graders to be taught about gay sex in school. Come up with a real reason that you actually thought about.

Atter Cob said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 2:29 am

By the way, did you know that Pandas had been “not bears” and where recently reclassified as “bears” when you wrote the article, or were you unaware of the issue and just assumed they were bears? (There’s no way to verify your answer so I’ll just give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’ll answer honestly.)

wallybear said:
Dec 9, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Panda Express has NO vegetarian menu items. None. Zip. Nada. Where’s the “choice” in that?

Beetle said:
Dec 9, 2008 at 9:28 pm

And the Coffee Spot doesn’t serve steak!

calstudent said:
Dec 9, 2008 at 9:39 pm

the school has economic incentive for this monstrosity…therefore they will be a bit reluctant to listen to opposing arguments. what leverage do we have against $500,000? let’s stop bitching, moaning, writing daily cal blogs, writing daily cal blog comments, and actually find a productive way to stop this invasive panda species

Monica said:
Dec 10, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Is there anything we can do to stop this?

Panda said:
Dec 11, 2008 at 3:19 am

u can try to stop the panda, but eventually, the panda will rape u.

Panda said:
Dec 11, 2008 at 3:22 am

don’t poach da panda !!! What’s better than orange chicken? More orange chicken.

Justin said:
Dec 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Wallybear, the choice is that no one is making you eat there. If other people would like to eat there, why take away their freedom to do so?

James said:
Dec 29, 2009 at 12:48 am

The food selection at the Bear’s Lair is downright horrible. Food advertised as hot is usually served cold, or lukewarm at best.

As much as many of you would like to belittle Panda Express–you know, because you think it’s too pedestrian or plebeian, being at shopping malls and your average suburban commercial pavilion–it’s food tastes much better than the current on-campus selection, and it’s just as unhealthy.

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Dobromił Wojciechowski said:
Mar 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm