My life revolves around campus in more ways than one. Outside of learning, I also work here, live here and most importantly, I eat here.
What I and a lot of people appreciate about our university is the variety of food options on campus. With the food court, dining hall, markets and coffee shops, there are many different choices at our disposal.
I am very grateful for all the resources on campus, especially as a resident of Ascension Hall, but there have been many times that I found myself wishing I had a place to prepare my own food.
The inability to cook food on campus is not the biggest inconvenience for me personally because I can go home on the weekends. However, I can’t help but think about the students who live far from home. The majority of students who stay on campus for seven days a week don’t have the option to prepare anything that requires a stove or an oven.
I propose that community kitchens should be installed in all dorm buildings.
My desire to have kitchens in dormitories doesn’t take away from the fact that I enjoy eating at the dining hall. I even wrote an opinion article about why the Mane Dish is my favorite place to eat on campus. Although the Mane Dish provides a wide variety of food each day, it is safe to say that it cannot meet everyone’s specific dietary needs, at least not to a vast extent.
The primary reason we need community kitchens is that many students have certain limitations and preferences for their diets.
For example, students who play sports or enjoy fitness often require a specific calorie intake, and that can sometimes be difficult to achieve when some of them only have three meal swipes a day. With community kitchens, students can meal prep at the beginning of the week to ensure they get any additional calories they might need.
Students who are vegan, vegetarian or follow a pescetarian diet also have certain preferences. The Mane Dish makes strong efforts to accommodate these students, but it will take time before a wider variety of options are incorporated. A community kitchen would allow students with specific dietary lifestyles to prepare foods to their preference while still enjoying the options provided at the Mane Dish.
The inclusion of a community kitchen will not stop students from using other food establishments on campus. At the end of the day, we are still college students, and we don’t always have the energy or time to cook our own food. However, having that option would still be extremely beneficial to dorm residents.
In my case, having a kitchen in the building would greatly help me improve the cooking skills that I’m going to need after I graduate college, and I’m sure many students feel the same.
I can also see community kitchens being a great bonding experience for residents and RAs. Students can get together and cook meals on special occasions, which is especially important for those who cannot make it home during the holidays.
Community kitchens are an extremely practical and useful resource that campus residents deserve to have. Yes, the installment of kitchens will come with potential fire and safety hazards, but those who misuse the kitchens can always be held accountable.
As a resident of one of the newer and more upgraded dorms on campus, I am very grateful for all the little luxuries of my living space. However, as much as I appreciate the giant flatscreens in the lobbies and the vending machines on my floor, I’d much rather have that money go towards something that can benefit all students in all dorms.
Ultimately, the push for community kitchens is all in the hopes of making our amazing campus even better.