The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Why the coffee cart should be in OLRI, not J-Wall

Photo by Rory Donaghy ’24.

Relaxation is inherently connected with better work, and time management is a skill all Macalester students either have, need or are working on developing. For those who arguably are more confined to their building when it comes to the work they need to do, Macalester should provide support for their endeavors. 

When in pursuit of jobs and careers beyond academia, students inevitably encounter the total and complete lack of benefits offered to them by a lot of companies. A notable exception to this are office jobs in what one might call “full service buildings.” Companies that do this are often tech or computer science corporations that often require rigorous training and difficult degrees to gain footing in the career, these companies try to pull you in with promises of a luxurious and relaxing work environment. 

So, what does this have to do with Macalester? 

Well, let’s talk about the reason why these companies do this. Providing these “amenities” for free not only creates an environment that isn’t entirely associated with work, it persuades their employees to voluntarily spend more time at their job. 

They do this in a variety of ways; one being taking away the reasons why people might need to leave — primarily food. Buildings can have full service kitchens and stocked pantries, and some companies cater food for their employees as well. In yet another attempt to eliminate the need for employees to leave, companies provide areas to engage in other activities, like gyms, indoor putting greens and other similar amenities. 

What’s the benefit, though? By producing more relaxed employees that want to spend more time at their job, they effectively get more and better work done. Trials done by Microsoft and in countries like Iceland and New Zealand have shown that the nine to five isn’t actually about employee efficiency or getting more work done. Four day work weeks and six hour workdays can yield just as compelling results when it comes to output. However, in a capitalist society, being forced to have work take up more of your time creates the illusion of free time being precious, and therefore causes people to be more inclined to spend more money to make their limited free time more enjoyable. In a vicious cycle, this expenditure also causes them to need to work more.

The “poor STEM majors” suffering in OLRI through their organic chemistry and physics problem sets and their coding in python are already deep in the misery of their tasks. They already have to spend copious amounts of time struggling through pages long math problems and drawing an ungodly number of hexagons. So, you might be asking: why do they need the coffee cart? 

Well, the answer is simple. Number one: the amount of STEM majors for whom the only thing getting them through their day is a copious amount of caffeine is innumerable. Number two: if they do not have to stop at The Grille or another coffee shop on the way in, they will spend more time in Olin Rice. Third, and most importantly: this will create a positive association between the beverage they need and the building they study in. 

Though the majority of voluntary time spent in Olin-Rice doing homework and studying is in the evening, while the coffee cart isn’t open, this doesn’t change much. Despite the fact that the coffee cart is only open during the morning and early afternoon, it is available for a quick fix between classes, and provides a compelling reason to stay in the building and work in the odd hour-long break. It also further fuels the brain for work later on in the day, and allows STEM majors to abstain from sleep, because who needs that?!? 

Laboratory work also creates odd periods of time where one isn’t necessarily doing something constantly, but has to remain in the general vicinity of the lab in order to keep an eye on their experiment. How can we expect STEM majors to trek over to JWall when they have chemicals simmering on a bunsen burner or a centrifuge spinning down cells? 

If Macalester desires to retain its reputation for churning out students who go on to obtain higher degrees and become successful in their fields, they must remain true to their ideals of a liberal arts education and support their science students as well as those of other disciplines. In areas of study where time devoted appears to be the only way to succeed, this is one way to ensure that that time is spent wisely, in pursuit of knowledge and raising the all-important GPA. 

[email protected]

View Comments (2)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lucy Diaz
Lucy Diaz, Managing Editor
Lucy Diaz '24 is a Managing Editor, from Montclair, NJ. She is a biology major with a horrifying combination of minors/concentrations that includes psychology, biochemistry and community & global health. She owns earrings that say "Be Gay do Crimes," a tiny chemistry beaker filled with d20 dice, and knows a lot about medieval european monarchy.

Comments (2)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • W

    WillMar 24, 2024 at 6:21 pm

    Really longwinded way to say I am superior to other members of the student body…

  • B

    BenMar 20, 2024 at 8:59 pm

    touch grass please – STEM students are not more important than anyone else.


    an Earth Science PhD student