If you, dear reader, are one of the many St. Olaf students who regularly eat meals in Stav Hall, you have undoubtedly noticed that this semester has brought change to small, yet vital aspect of the caf dining experience: the ice machines. To be clear, the entire soda fountain has been updated as the most recent step of St. Olaf’s switch to becoming a Pepsi school (that’s a whole different article), but if we’re being honest, the ice machine is the only part of that contraption that remotely matters.
It was obvious that the ice machine needed to be upgraded. It was seriously ill-equipped to serve the needs of the student body; within the first half-hour of any given meal, the ice cubes would only eke out in small dribbles at best. This left the better of the St. Olaf populace to drink lukewarm beverages.
Clearly there was a demand for a new ice machine, so at first I was quite receptive to the sight of the shiny, blue new one. However, in practice, it turns out that this ‘progress’ leaves a lot to be desired. Though the new ice machine certainly has enough ice to go around, it has no sense of aim and often spills far out beyond the boundaries of the caf cups. This issue is prevalent enough that plastic containers have been
“The problem with this ice machine means that whoever engineered this contraption neglected to factor in how the ice is going to get into the user’s drinking receptacle.” – Chaz Mayo ’18
placed below to catch all the excess ice that is wont to spill over. This is just terribly inconvenient. I visit the ice machine to chill my beverage, not the floor and certainly not my forearm.
Quite frankly, this issue is even more confounding than the lack of ice in the old machine. That previous quandary can be explained by the obsolescence of an ice machine from a different time. But the problem with this ice machine means that whoever engineered this contraption neglected to factor in how the ice is going to get into the user’s drinking receptacle.
Is not that the primary function of an ice machine? Why then is this fancy-pants new one not even able to do that? I don’t want to be persnickety, I just want a cold beverage without a weird amount of problems. Isn’t it strange that we even have opinions on the ice machine? Shouldn’t it just one of those things that just sits in the background unnoticed?
But unfortunately, there are such issues with this ancillary aspect of Stav Hall that it rises to a prominence unbecoming of its intended importance.
There is also the question of how high a priority is this issue in the minds of Bon Appetit management.
Are they even aware of the issue? They must be, since they upgraded the machine in the first place (unless it was just some part shipped in from corporate on a whim). But then did they not do any sort of quality check on the replacement part? Were they led astray by hubris and blind faith that the shiny new object would be magically perfect with zero issues?
My hope is that whoever is in charge of overseeing this scourge of liquid-cooling will skim through the technical manual (if it hasn’t been thrown out yet) and check if there is some way to get the new ice machine to dispense with just slightly less vigor so we can all move on with our lives and enjoy a cold beverage at dinner.
Chaz Mayo ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Rice Lake, Wis. He majors in theater and medieval studies.