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Quinntessential: More cooking options needed for students

Despite my indifference to the dining halls here at Ohio University, I’ll admit they are my go-to when it comes to eating. The cost efficiency is unbeatable at Boyd or Nelson dining hall. I’d much rather spend one meal swipe at a dining hall than actual money on slightly better food.

One glaring issue with the dining halls, however, is their hours of operation. I don’t care when it opens as long as it’s in the morning, but I’m more annoyed at the dining halls closing at 8:30 p.m.

I’m constantly busy, free time in my life varies from day to day. Sometimes I have a 30-minute window from 3-3:30 p.m. and other days I’m not free until 11 p.m. On days like the latter, I’m in anguish when I don’t have access to a hot meal, only one meal swipe away. This is where my argument comes into play.

Instead of going to bed hungry or having to walk somewhere late at night like I normally do, what if I could cook an amazing and healthy late-night meal?

Having a good diet improves many aspects of life besides physical health. Eating healthy has been shown to improve mental health along with improving focus and motivation. A mental health boost is something everyone desires, especially when living in a musty and crusty dormitory.

Living in a dorm room already limits many aspects of the life I’d once known. On top of dealing with communal bathrooms, shower shoes and sharing an already cramped space with another dude, the meal situation doesn’t get any better. If I want to heat anything in the convenience of my dorm room, all I have access to is a puny microwave.

This leads to a lack of quality in the food I can consume late at night. There is one oven located in the living room of my dorm. While better than nothing, many college students don’t even know how to cook.

Nearly one in five college students don't know how to cook, and in my short time at OU, the number seems even higher than the study states. It also doesn’t help the cause when the food we could cook is very limited.

Jefferson Market does provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This can prove to be meaningless as most students have little idea of how to prepare and cook said vegetables, myself included.  

Fortunately, I have a solution for every single problem I have listed. My idea involves everyone taking a required cooking class. The only thing students get graded on is participation, so there’s no pressure about cooking the best meal. 

There could also be different types of classes depending on each student's preference. There could be classes specializing in cooking with lean meats such as chicken and fish, vegetarian classes and vegan classes.

It could be a fun way to promote community through cooking while teaching students this important life skill. It can also open students' eyes to new cultures, such as what Duke professor Kusum Knapczyk teaches in her class. 

We’re getting into midterm season here at Ohio University. Stress, self-doubt and endless work litters students' minds. If students had a way to alleviate some of the pressures of the world through cooking and eating healthier, it would have nothing but a positive impact on us. It would also make the food we eat so much better.

Quinn Elfers is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Quinn know by emailing him at

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