The Tomato

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Staff lets him stay, despite sanitary concerns

Photo: Kim Wiens

Liam Cook, a first-year communications student, has moved into the new dining hall the second week of classes after seeing all the new amenities the all-you-can-eat, 24/7 cafeteria offers.

Cook gave the Tomato an exclusive tour of his new home, after he’d been living there for more than two weeks. He took our reporters  to his makeshift bed, which is a bench facing Morisset Library. The table was covered with plates of food, to serve as snacks or pillows depending on the time of day. “That’s why I love the pancakes so much, they’re soft enough for pillows but still delicious enough to eat after a few days when they’re stale,” said Cook.

Cook originally lived in Friel Residence, one of the residences that doesn’t have a mandatory meal plan. “I met a bunch of people from 90U during 101 Week,” said Cook, “and they have to eat here. I thought I’d come along for dinner, just to see what the new dining hall was like.”

Upon arrival, the students were able to eat as much as they wanted, with a wide variety of foods available. Eventually, his friends wanted to leave for the night, but Cook did not move.

“I could either walk all the way back to residence, or I could stay here.” Cook said, punctuating his sentence with a bite of pizza. “It seemed a pretty obvious choice to me.”

What started as an overnight snack fest turned into a permanent new home.

Originally, Food Services opposed the student moving into the hall, but opinions eventually changed on the hall’s new-found resident. Thomas Oxford, Director of Food Services, noted that it’s a good marketing campaign, and that “seeing students enjoying the dining hall makes the months of renovations worth it.”

“Besides the food, it has a game room which is good for long nights. Constantly having an Xbox nearby is better than living at home, let alone my room in residence,” Cook said.

Emma Torres, a first-year geology student, is one of the students who accompanied Cook on that seminal first visit. “I like the dining hall,” she said, “but not enough to stay there forever like him. Gets too crowded for me.”

Cook manages to keep up a high CGPA using a collaborative system that he has perfected.  He passes food over to students who do not want to pay the fee, and in return they take notes and hand in Cook’s assignments.

“I’m not going to leave for a while,” Cook said, moving onto a generous portion of carrot cake. “I was going to go home for reading week, but I think I’ll just invite my parents to stay here instead.”

Cook also plans to contact Access Service to try and arrange to take his exams in his new home. “I’m happy in here,” he said, finishing his third plate before continuing, “and I won’t have another $11.25 to pay the fee to get back in after I pay tuition for the second semester.”