Associated Students Off-Campus Senator Sydney Karmes-Wainer recently started a petition on asking UC Santa Barbara to provide a space on campus and funding for a hot food bar.

Karmes-Wainer, an on-campus senator, said she is passionate about healthy eating. Nexus file photo

Karmes-Wainer, a third-year communication and global studies double major and French minor, originally started the petition as part of an assignment for her communication class, Social Media Controversy. The class required students to design petitions based on their personal passions.

For Karmes-Wainer, that passion was healthy eating. Her health journey over the past year inspired her to make healthy eating options more accessible for UCSB students as well.

“I don’t believe that we have enough restaurants or establishments to build healthy, nutritious meals, and even if they seem healthy, they’re not always the healthiest option,” Karmes-Wainer said.  

Karmes-Wainer used the petition as a way to gauge the community’s response to the hot bar as a potential senate project.

What first began as a class project quickly transformed into a platform for students with a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences to voice their needs.

“I engaged people from other communities that I didn’t realize that I was targeting as well,” Karmes-Wainer said. “That’s the point of my position, is to hear from all my different constituents.”

Karmes-Wainer’s petition elicited plenty of responses from its post on UCSB’s Free & For Sale page on Facebook.

Robert Moser, a fourth-year environmental studies major at UCSB, said his dietary restrictions made finding food on campus difficult.

“Being a celiac, it’s hard to find many gluten-free meal options on campus just random misc snack items. As a campus senator, it would be cool if you could advocate for more meal options for those with dietary restrictions,” Moser wrote in a comment in response to Karmes-Wainer’s post.

Karmes-Wainer hopes to make the bar environmentally friendly as well by using locally-sourced produce an idea partially borrowed from the Isla Vista Food Co-op’s model and compostable to-go boxes.

As of Wednesday, around 230 people have signed the petition, but the hot food bar still remains in its initial stages. Karmes-Wainer noted that the construction of the bar would not be completed by the end of her term.

“I’m dedicated to go through with the project throughout my senior year even though I won’t be on senate,” she said.

A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Jan. 31, 2019 edition of the Daily Nexus.

Isabell Liu is a staff writer at the Daily Nexus and can be reached at