By Anja Herrmann
Ah, yes- the infamous energy generator that sits idly by in Eleanor and at the very top of Franklin. We can almost hear our calling to get up and just get one, just one more cup of coffee. But based on our impressive eye bags and the decision-making of our last two delirious brain cells, we must deduce the importance of getting another cup. We must question the very worth of obtaining that miniature volume of coffee. We must question the absolute cost of 50 cents per 100ml of survival liquid.
At first it may not seem too pricey. We’ve charged up our white cards and we rejoice in the merry moment of having money. We have a sense of pride for falsifying the label of a ‘broke uni student’. We are getting one cup after another, professionally walking into class -cup in hand- and taking discreet sips whilst we eyeball the professor.
But alas, the glory ends… we shut an eyelid and glare down into the insides of the cup as if it were a telescope. There are no stars of any kind, but rather, the sorrowful remaining droplets of coffee. So what do we do? We consider getting another one.
At the end of the day, the coffee machine makes UCR students ‘drug addicts’ (unless you go for the hot chocolate, then you’re a ‘choco addict’). While the cost of 50 cents might make us realize the ‘great value’ of coffee (or chocolate), we must ask ourselves, is it fair for UCR students to pay for it? What are the consequences if we don’t pay? Would someone no longer be employed if we don’t give up that 50 cents? Besides our tuition fees, is UCR’s fuel additionally dependent on students’ contributions to this coffee generator?
Like a little vending machine or a tuck shop inside the walls of UCR, I guess it seems fair to give a little payment – a small sacrifice for the enrichment of our learning experience. However, the Zeeuwse archives provide free coffee, and professors, in fact, have their own separate machine providing free coffee in the middle of UCR. So why should only students have to pay up?
On the other hand, considering the argument of free coffee for professors and staff alike, some employees are required to glue themselves to their offices, while us students have the liberty to roam free and scavenge for free coffee. Although we have the Zeeuwse archives for that, maybe it should also be permissible that students have access to free coffee between lessons or in the hours the Zeeuwse archive is closed.
In short, although the cost in general is not a lot of money, I also believe that a small cup of ‘actually mediocre quality’ coffee is not equivalent to 50 cents. But if UCR is (somehow) dependent on the generator to keep its bees in the hive, then it should be, at least, justifiable to charge students a lower price for such a small volume of divine refreshments.
Anja Herrmann, Class of 2021, is a Politics and Human Geography major from Hong Kong, China.