A micro (wave) rant

Alex Ourth, Courier Staff

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After finishing my first full month as a graduate student at Western Illinois University, I can honestly say that I am very satisfied with the amenities the university has to offer. The recreational facilities are spacious and inviting, the Malpass Library is serene and elegant, (I love plants) and the campus itself provides ample greenery. The one issue that has surfaced thus far during my time here stems from the Union; specifically, the lack of a student microwave at the Union.

Now, I know that the lack of a microwave in the Union is a really minute detail to focus on, but as a graduate commuter student, I often have to come to campus early and stay until late at night. Thus, I am often eating meals while here at Western. So, imagine my shock when I first brought my packed lunch to the Union only to discover that there was no way to heat my food. Having no available microwave places an inconvenience on my ability to achieve proper nutritional intake. The lack of a microwave forces me to either eat out for lunch (harming my health and wallet) or to pack the same cold sandwich every day. No longer would I be able to enjoy my mom’s leftover meatloaf, vegetable stir fry or soup. Indeed, one of the best benefits for living at home is completely lost.

Now I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Can’t you just use a friend’s microwave or find an alternative spot on campus to use one?”

To the first notion I would say that it is unfair to assume that I have any friends around campus. As a first-year graduate student, maybe I haven’t found time in my busy schedule to make friends, or maybe I simply don’t like people. The exact reason really doesn’t matter. Perhaps if there was a microwave in the Union where I could heat my lunch, I could eat with potential friends in the food court. Or, at the very least, I could eat in a social atmosphere.

To the second notion, I would say that I have tried to look up alternative places on campus to heat my lunch. The only spot I could find was within the Multicultural Center. Now, I don’t have a problem with utilizing the Multicultural Center in a way it was designed for; a place to learn about, engage with and appreciate the different cultures at Western and beyond. However, the idea of a white gentleman venturing into another culture’s space simply to make use of their physical resources seems a little cliché to me. I suppose that this dilemma may give me an increased incentive to get involved with the Multicultural Center, which would be beneficial for me in the long run. Regardless, I still think Western would be even better with an available microwave in the Union food court.

So, if any university officials happen to be reading this little suggestion, I hope you take the issue seriously. If you are having doubts about the feasibility of this proposal (I know funds and open spaces are limited), I have already completed some preliminary research to ease your work. A quick search of microwaves at Wal-Mart indicates we could get a cheap microwave for only $40. If that still sounds too high, I am confident we could get a cheaper option using buy-sell-trade sites. Heck, I would donate the money needed if that’s what it will take to get a student microwave at the Union (maybe then they would name it after me; the “A. Ourth Commuter Microwave”). As far as where it could be placed, there is a perfect open countertop in the little printing alcove across from Chick-Fil- A. This location is practically begging to have a microwave sitting where students can heat up their lunch while lounging in one of the chairs.

In concluding this little rant, I hope that the issue has been appropriately brought to light and that it ultimately brings relief to the hungry commuter students of Western Illinois University. Until then, I will continue to suffer with endless PB and J.

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