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6:00AM is when I realized I have an alarm I never bought

This is the post excerpt.

*SLAM* with that, I woke up groggy; looking across the room, I saw to my utmost horror it was only 6:04AM. As I ruffled back and turned, pulled my blanket back on and hugged my pillow, the clamping noise of metal shutters being drawn not once, not twice, but multiple times over what seemed to be an eternity kept me up.

Finally, after about 10 minutes, it stopped. Peace at last I thought as I slowly dozed off trying to catch what sleep I could before my 10:30AM class when barely minutes later, that ruckus began again.

As I began pondering as to why did I choose the room on the ground floor right next to the trash compactor with it’s pleasant smells and beautiful motor noises, I was only interrupted by an even louder beeping associated with the drumming of the engines of the truck which attacked its way through a closed window into my inner sanctum.

This may not be the first night I’ve woken up, but it was definitely the breaking point after 5 weeks of dealing with this noise along with replies from Housing and Food Services, the peeps who provide residence here on campus, essentially saying- Not our Problem, deal with it.

Thus begins my blog where I drench the internet with the situations I face daily while living on campus. Welcome to My HFS Nightmare…

Resident Director? No, I think you mean Resident Dictator…

Amid 7:00 o’clock honks, screaming roommates, and cold water baths; I’ve sought solace through the room change request form and hoping I will be delivered from this inferno on Earth. Number 24… 22… 18… 15… 13… 13… 13? Why isn’t my spot in the que lowering?

Lander Desk: we’re accepting new tenants and are on hold (seriously! You barely have enough space as it is and most students are living in temporary housing!)

HFS: We don’t accept room changes during finals week and spring quarter (But I’m insisting I won’t be impacted and I am here during spring break HFS!)

Resident Dictator: Not my problem, you should adjust. And that noise that keeps waking you up despite closing the window, wearing ear plugs, and playing white noise? Yeah, that’s going to continue even during finals week. Also, your interpretation of the housing agreement is wrong. I am right because I am the RD. (Did you just tell me to put up with my HFS nightmare and ask me politely to f**k off?!)

Yeah… Don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t living with Housing and Food Services at the University of Washington because they don’t care about your well-being and once you’re assigned a room. Unless you’re literally dying, they won’t change it.

PS- I have ADD and am sensitive to lots of noise; I almost live in the libraries and at Local Point because I cannot stay in my room because of this, and HFS essentially told me to f**k off. When I approached them earlier too, they never even bought up the DRS who’ve closed their doors to room changes on Feb 1st for Spring quarter. I don’t think I have a way out of this once, and if you’re reading this, please heed my warning. Don’t live with HFS. It’s all nice and dawdly if you’re that 1% in a good room, but if not, you’re in for a HFS nightmare.

Is Housing and Food Services (HFS) @UW any good/ does it suck? (review)

A little bit of background- I’m a sophomore who’s lived in Mercer Court for both his first and second year. I’ve been primarily eating on campus (on average 2 meals a day). I’ve involved myself in student residential boards like MARC (Mercer Apartments Residential Council) alongside the RCSA(Residential Community Student Association) and their activities around campus, and have sought help from Housing and Food Services through in-person and email. Thus, I can provide a comprehensive review on food, rooms, customer service, and more. Over the coming weeks, I will tackle one aspect of living on campus and post them here, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting to pick up your packages is like waiting for HFS to become better- it takes too long

Tis the season of gifts and giving, and with you buying your favorite Lindt chocolates and gaming notebooks online, when you get an email from FedEx saying your package is delivered, you start anxiously checking your phone with a wide grin in anticipation of the Lander Front Desk sending that glorious email subjected with “You have a Package!”.

Due to both a lack of staff and poor planning, if you’re a student staying over for the holidays, oh let’s say for Thanksgiving, aside from the narrow four hour window to pick up your packages, you probably won’t get that email till the holidays are over, leaving you wait out to enjoy or use that thing you wanted to play with during the holidays to destress yourselves before the rapidly approaching finals. This is an issue, because aside from the horrendously long time to process packages even after the holidays (4-5 hours to process something on a Tuesday morning? Really?), due to the limited hours, you may be waiting to pick up your package for over 20 hours if they send that email after pickup hours.

 

Coffee Filters from dustbins

This is going to be a small one-

The students manning the operations in the Custom Kitchen at Local Point replace the coffee filters too. However, they place the coffee machines part alongside the filter INSIDE the compost bins to have the filter drop inside and WITHOUT this part afterwards, and proceed to brew new coffee with filters stored right near the dustbins that are just laying there in a cabinet (aren’t sealed).

Have fun thinking about this the next time you get your free cup of coffee with your HFS dining account and you notice things taste a little different or off.

 

Noise anywhere and everywhere on HFS

Outside classrooms, if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll either study in your room, cafe that will be most likely provided by Housing and Food Services if you’re living on campus here at the University of Washington, or at the library which are undergoing a space shortage as finals approach us however, leaving the latter. With that though, unless you have a pair of really nice active noise cancelling headphones, good luck finding a quiet spot on campus to not only study, but eat peacefully too.

The Coco-Cola man still greets me every morning outside my room in Mercer Court with the ever so pleasent beeping while being so kind as to block whatever little light enters my room on these winter mornings. This, along with the melodious sounds of the trash compactors just north my window with their ever so pleasent smells, with the way my apartment is designed such that any and all noise in the common area makes it way through to my room guarantees me I will forever hear these sounds as long as I live here.

So as I cannot find any peace in my room, I make my way to Local Point which while does have bigger tables to allow me to actually have a laptop and book out on the same table unlike my room, between HFS guides yelling at 1:30PM while highlighting the “merits” of living on campus, the lawnmowers buzzing through two doors, and the really out of place country music mixed in with music you’ve heard atleast a hundred times, there’s a very limited possibility you will find any peace over here either.

I really wish that HFS had quiet areas that are well lit and don’t make you feel as though you’re in a board room, as rooms you’re paying for alongside cafes you’re forced to pay for if you’re living on campus with Housing and Food services are rendered unusable by design choices by HFS themselves, and their attitude to not do anything about it is frustrating to say the least.

Gold badge- bronze performance

As my phone screen flashed with “download completed” and as my fingers scrolled to the bottom of the document, I felt a strange lifting sensation of peace and ecstasy as I saw that there was going to be rice with tofu and slaw; something not produced in Local Point since months and something I can eat over three sittings of. With that, I ran to Local Point with a good hour prior to it closing, only for my eyes to burn at the sight of orange carrots instead of claw.

With my heart sinking, I went to the Deli where I was greeted with a gold badged student coordinator. As I asked for the gluten free, I couldn’t help but notice this gentleman’s body language which suggested that he was crying internally and screaming that this is but anything he wanted to do- he was tossing the ingredients which landed with audible thumps, the cheese was placed as a diamond on square bread with just a single slap of hummus that barely covered the entire thing. The tofu, which as common sense would perhaps dictate should be placed parallely side by side were half an half over each other, something I’ve never faced after eating over a fifty sandwiches here.

As the toaster hit “ding” and out came some bling, I couldn’t help but notice the cucumbers following that were thrown into place. This coordinator is clearly a picasso committed to his craft and this sandwich is his Mona Lisa, which while I would gaze at amazement, each of my senses cried in disbelief as each bit into it was filled with disappointment and emptiness.

Cold with a pump of mixed communication

One hour past my informatics class, I receive an email from HFS titled “UW Housing: Attention Needed-High Dining Balance” in regards to the 493.33$, which is more than 50% of my quarterly allowance, being unused. What it didn’t tell me though, is at the end of the academic year, the 700$ or so I would have accumulated by this, would just disappear.

As I panicked and made my way towards my RA, I heaved a sigh of relief as I was told that if I approach the HFS office at Lander early on, there may be a chance of a refund at the end of the academic year, moreso if I have a sizeable amount remaining. While I was vary about this as past encounters usually demonstrated they were cold and apt at providing one-worded “no”s to most requests, the next day would provide me my answer.

At around 10:00AM the next day, I marched into their office at Lander and asked them if there was any way to get a refund at the end of the academic year, and lo and behold, I get a no.

While this is a fabulous business choice by Housing and Food Services, it’s a terrible choice for students, local businesses, and Seattle as a whole.

Students are stuck with bad and a food with a lack of complexity. Once you eat at Local Point enough, you will find that almost all the food is formed by stacking one thing on top of the other, something that’s impossible to mess up- this is the reason we don’t see complex dishes like burritos, sushi, or any wraps- they can be made cheaply, but require a bit of complexity in production.

Local Businesses don’t get as many customers as they could have, especially those around the Ave and others near the University of Washington. Let’s do some quick math year. The average academic year has 11 weeks, meaning 77 days. A Level 1 dining plan provides 893$ per quarter, which means 11.5$ per day, which increases as Local Point provides a limited food on weekends and holidays. Assuming a student grabs only lunch and dinner, they will be eating all their meals at LP, which means local businesses don’t get enough customers.

Students eating similar and low complexity dishes each day would reflect badly on their opinion on Seattle as a whole- because they’re financially bound to eating at Local Point, they don’t explore other restaurants nor the various cuisines available here at the UW. They’re unlikely to recommend Seattle to friends and family because they may believe Local Point reflects the food of Seattle, causing tourism, something linked to generating over $6.4 billion for King County alone with over 70,000 jobs, to not grow as quickly as it could have.

 

Vegetarian Food on Week 7

Running out of all vegetarian protein for your sandwiches when the only alternative is a cold noodle dish or some chanaa masala is quite simply put- disappointing. While cutting down on two dishes, mainly going from a new dish on the Custom Kitchen from Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday-Thursday to simply Monday-Thursday, they haven’t made any efforts to substitute that with a fulfilling dish.

While Local Point didn’t have it’s gluten free shortage today, it’s rigidity in my efforts to create one of the better dishes in the midst of being surrounded by simply put minimalistic and disappointing dishes has downed my spirits tonight.

I wanted  to replace their meat from counter A with fried tofu from counter B and I got told, “No, you cannot mix dish parts”. While not wrong, I atleast expect some sort of communication with other chefs to ask if that’s alright, moreso as if that’s the first time I’ve seen you work here. I’m just sad there’s no dish I like… 😦

Music at LocalPoint

Repetitive, loud, and ad-ridden; this is perhaps the best way to enjoy the time you spend eating using those HFS bucks or studying at Local Point. Nevermind the tables with the nearly impossible to clean off grease or the people talking so loudly it’s like they’re yelling at each other- it’s all fine because the music is great.

If you didn’t catch it, that was a lot of sarcasm above. I cannot even fathom why a commercial cafeteria isn’t subscribed to an ad-free station that isn’t blasting GEICO ads every few minutes and have someone to control the audio- in the mornings, it’s mostly silent, but on an empty afternoon, “Me, Myself, and I” by G-EAZY that’s now been played over the eleventh time this week will seep its way through almost every headphone out there unless you crank them loud enough you go deaf.

Try studying here on any afternoon and it’s nearly impossible. First, you need to find a table without some sticky sugar all over it or a sofa without food dropped over it. Once you do find such a table or clean it yourself, you sit down, flip open a book and just as you begin to read, a GEICO ad blasts its way through the cafeteria with music following it so loud that you’re  probably wondering whether you’re at a cafeteria or Hard Rock Cafe…

Lunch at LocalPoint

When you’re a vegetarian and the deli (sandwich counter) doesn’t have gluten free bread nor tofu, the global kitchen is serving ‘falafels’ without pita bread nor hummus and is charging almost a dollar per extra little “bun”, you know that you’re out of options.

“Well, you can eat a pasta you’ve eaten a hundred times before or grab a slice of that greasy pizza or burger you liar!” Yea… No thanks.

Local Point has great and friendly people, but outright horrible and stagnant food, leaving you- a vegetarian, to face a nightmare of a food crisis while at the UW for lunch…