Students have safe cooking options

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Students who live in the Residence Hall at Laramie County Community College have probably heard that term plenty. Most were heavily warned at the beginning of the semester about what they were and were not allowed to have in the dorms.

The list of forbidden items included hot plates, toasters, George Foreman grills and any other open-heating devices.

Jason Ostrowsky, manager of residential living and learning, said: "Open-heating elements cause a fire hazard in the rooms. The dorms are not ventilated sufficiently for cooking."

Residence Hall offers communal kitchen

He advised all students who have the need to cook their own food to use the communal kitchen provided in the Residence Hall.

All students are allowed to use the kitchen, which is filled with all the items needed to cook such as pots, pans, stove top, oven, microwave, sink and fridge.

Every student living on campus is required to have a cafeteria meal plan, which consists of either 14 or 19 meals a week Ostrowsky said most cooking in the communal kitchen happens during weekend when students have run out of meals for the week, and the cafeteria is open for fewer hours.

He suggested students take advantage of the kitchen because it is fully stocked and is regularly cleaned.

Ostrowsky also lives in the Residence Hall with his wife and family. Although unlike the students, he has an apartment instead of a dorm, which is fully equipped with a kitchen.

Residence Hall cooking rules

Some students do try to sneak in open heating cooking items, he said. Most students don't get caught with them unless an incident happens.

During the fall 2011 semester, a student caused the fire alarm to sound by cooking an item in a microwave for 30 minutes instead of three. Soon after the alarms went off, the entire Residence Hall was evacuated.

Although microwaves are allowed, Ostrowsky said students must be careful on how long they cook items. He suggested students who need to cook in their rooms to visit and look at the microwave recipe.

They offer microwave-safe cooking items from soup to corn on the cob and pickles he said.

The rules about cooking items have been suggested for fire safety because the rooms are not meant for heavy cooking but the communal kitchen is, Ostrowsky said.

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