Students struggle to find, use microwaves at UT Austin

Hannah Ortega

Half an hour. That’s how long Laura Souto once waited to use a microwave.

Souto, who lives in Riverside, is one of many students who brings food from home and struggles to use or find microwaves on campus. Microwaves seem to be few and far between, and some, such as those in the Student Activity Center and Texas Union, can accumulate long lines, Souto said.

“If I’m really hungry, I’ll either eat my food cold or I wait and eat a late lunch and so I end up skipping a meal,” Souto, a public relations freshman, said. “It would be preferable to not have to do (that).”

Currently, there are two microwaves in the SAC and two microwaves in the Texas Union. According to the online Healthyhorns Microwave Map, which was last updated in April 2018, there are 19 buildings with microwaves. 

James Buckley, director of facilities and operations for the University Unions, said there are plans to put a microwave on the ground floor of the Student Services Building.

“That should be coming soon,” Buckley said. “(The SSB) is a high traffic building as well, and I think (the microwave) will be well received and well used there once it gets in place.”

Melissa Martinez-Moreno, an international relations and global studies senior, decided to look into the lack of microwaves on campus for her Creative Problem Solving class. During open forum at Tuesday’s Student Government meeting, Martinez-Moreno presented the microwave issue in hopes of getting support and suggestions from representatives.

“My time to heat my food and eat it is very limited, so I if I have to go to a particular building and heat my food, then I might be late to my next class,” Martinez-Moreno said at the SG meeting.

Martinez-Moreno visited a few of the 19 buildings listed and said she couldn’t find some of the microwaves. 

While she admitted she could have missed some microwaves inside of bigger buildings, she said she came across a couple microwaves that were located in offices and other less accessible locations.

“If for some reason the microwave issue is not solvable … I feel like another good solution would be at least to update the map and maybe put signs on the buildings that can point to where the microwaves are,” Martinez-Moreno said in an interview with The Daily Texan. “And also taking those microwaves that are supposed to be just for staff, just remove those signs and just make every student feel welcome to use those.”

Souto said it would be helpful if there were more microwaves and more ways for students to locate them.

“The majority of the student body doesn’t have a meal plan, and (as a) first-year student, it’s kind of shocking a little bit how unaccessible it was to have to bring my food from home,” Souto said. “I had to really consider what I was going to bring and when I was going to eat just because … a microwave just wasn’t available for me.”

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article reported that there was only one microwave in the SAC when there are two. The Texan regrets this error.