Dorm residents forage for food on weekends

Jaida Brown cooking dinner for her roommates in the dorm's group kitchen By Austin Tanner

By Lianna Hubbard

On most weekends, the Light House Common dorms are empty. Students stay over at friends or drive home to family. Some hole up in their rooms until classes start again on Monday.

Jaida Brown spends her weekends cooking.

During the week, the cafeteria and Dunkin Donuts are gathering places for socializing. Although there are complaints about prices and options, most students can find something to eat in between classes.

Over the weekends, all food sources, save vending machines, are completely closed, leaving FSW dorm residents on their own.

“It’s kind of hard that they don’t have a meal plan here,” said Riley Baker, one of Brown’s roommate. “You’re kind of on your own.”

The dorms have cooking areas. Each individual suite has a common area for the roommates with a stove, microwave, refrigerator and sink.

In the first-floor common area, another kitchen with ovens is available for students to use.

Brown says she shops for food once a week and does meal prep. Her side of the freezer she shares with her four other roommates is filled with individual bags of frozen chicken. Her fridge is filled with cooked beans and rice ready to be heated up.

Brown was not as prepared her first semester.

“Taco Bell was the place for my first semester,” said Brown. “I didn’t know how to cook real meals.”

That semester, Brown often cooked and refrigerated large amounts of plain spaghetti, which she ended up throwing out instead of eating.

Brown developed her cooking skills over the winter break. When she returned, she was ready to learn.

“If I did learn how to cook, it’s always from my friends,” said Brown.

Now Brown cooks herself three meals a day and sometimes ends up cooking for others, like her roommates or friends in different rooms.

 “If you just find one person who knows how to cook, you’re good,” said Brown. “Then they can teach you.”

Emelly Calimando, a sophomore social services major and resident adviser for floor two, also cooks extensively.

“I try not to eat out on the weekends,” said Calimando. Instead, she plans her eating schedule.

Calimando prepares chicken, rice and beans and heat up meals for her week.

She wasn’t always so prepared through.

Calimando’s first year, she struggled with eating healthy and consistent meals. Working two jobs in a nursing home and at the dorms had her strapped for time and money.

“Last year was really a struggle and I ate very cheap,” said Calimando.

Now, Calimando works only in the dorms. She helps other students who were in the same position as her.

The dorm has a food pantry.

The food pantry is filled with canned and preserved food that students can cook in the dorms. Students can access the food by talking to an RA.

“It’s here for any FSW student,” said Calimando. “[But] a lot of people don’t know about it.”

Other students go out to eat. Adriana Coria, an FSW sophomore and Brown’s roommate, ends up eating out at fast food places with her boyfriend most nights.

“I’ll do like three times a week. It’s bad,” said Coria. “It’s pretty much just out of laziness.”

This is Coria’s first semester living in the dorms. She had little experience cooking before she moved in.

“I really didn’t know what food items to buy,” said Coria. “I was kind of unprepared.”

Brown ends up being one of the main cooks of the shared dorm. Coria and the other roommates will often eat whatever someone else is cooking.

“I think many people are stuck at the fact they don’t know how to cook,” said Brown. “They’re still in that spaghetti phase.”

Students sitting in the LightHouse Common’s communal kitchen room with cupcakes baked in the communal oven
By Austin Tanner

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