The uncleanliness of Kingston’s communal kitchen is a calamitous nightmare. Dishes pile so high in the sink that residents have no way to clean their own; as a result, students have resorted to placing dirty dishes on top of the microwave. This unsanitary environment stretches beyond simple chores and has begun to put other students’ health at risk.
The cupboards, which once held all of Kingston’s kitchen supplies, are bare. This was caused by a protocol that was put in place to keep the communal kitchen clean. The protocol states that any kitchen supplies borrowed must be signed out, cleaned, and returned to the front desk so they can be available to other students, the kitchen must be kept cleaner than how the last person left it, and students must take their own dishes back to their room. Students are not adhering to this protocol as food decays in the sink and the tower of baking trays grows.
Eating on campus is a challenge for students with severe food allergies. Many depend on homecooked meals because they can’t eat safely on campus.
“For people who are always in the kitchen cooking, why wouldn’t you clean up after yourself so you can continue to do that?” said Kenz Curry (’25). “Sometimes we go down there and there’s a pile of dishes, like, how do they expect us to sign dishes out?”
To sign dishes out, students must hand their student IDs to the receptionist on duty. The student is to get their ID back after they return the dishes. This aspects of the protocol is rarely followed, as there aren’t any dishes to be signed out.
“The beginning of the year, it was rough,” said Curry. “There were no dishes in the cupboards, and it was all [in] the sink, and someone had to wash them because we needed to use them. It was so disgusting.”
SNHU only began enforcing rules to address Kingston’s sanitation problem this year. Despite good intentions, it has backfired on both Kingston residents, and residents of other dormitories.
“It’s upsetting. It’s such a pretty kitchen, and anytime I go to make food, I just want to deep clean it,” said Monica Robitalle (’25). “It’s ironic that Kingston has a full kitchen with a sink and stove, and it’s a freshman and sophomore dorm, but the junior and senior dorms don’t have [a] full kitchen. They should at least have one stove in every dorm because we want to cook.”
It is astonishing that there is only one fully functional kitchen in Kingston, especially since there are five floors and just over 380 residents. That many students expected to share one kitchen is an unrealistic design. To make matters worse, residents from other dormitories use Kingston’s kitchen because there isn’t one in their own.
“I have ten dollars in dining, so if I’m going to spend actual money on food, I’m going to spend it on good food that I can cook,” said Curry. “They should give us a stove; it doesn’t even have to have an oven. Just a stove so we can cook without walking all the way to Kingston’s dish pile. Give us something.”
Student access to fully functioning kitchens on campus is limited to one that can’t be relied on. This problem goes beyond health and safety concerns, reaching into issues of basic accessibility.
Students can do their part in keeping the kitchens clean by cleaning up after themselves, holding others accountable for their share, asking for help, being mindful of food safety, and returning their borrowed dishes to the front desk when done. Making this community effort can allow for culinary freedom.