The comments on my post on ‘food reserves’ have made me think about the sorts of facilities departments provide for grad students. In our department there is no ‘lounge’ area. (There used to be, but they had to turn it into an office. And we are still short on office space.)
My first-year office had no refrigerator and no microwave, which frustrated me (and my officemates), because all of the other first-year offices had this equipment. My officemate Legolas finally asked one of the secretaries if the department would buy us a refrigerator or, at the very least, a used microwave. Answer: no. But we were allowed to use the ‘official’ microwave in the department office (on the other side of the building).
When I moved offices last summer I was glad to see that the new place had both a microwave and a fridge. Just a tiny little dorm fridge, of course, so we couldn’t all bring in a week’s worth of lunches or leave food stashes in there. But at least I could bring leftovers without having them go bad by lunch.
Having talked to more people, it’s clear that any food-prep equipment in the offices has been purchased by some grad student in the past and left there for subsequent grad students. I am curious how far this could be taken–could I buy a full-sized refrigerator and move it in? (We could probably make room.)
So I’m curious now what other departments/schools provide for their grad students and faculty. Tell me about your set up: in a central lounge or dispersed amongst the offices? Fridge or no fridge? Microwave or no microwave? Other?