Andy's Math/CS page

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A simple plan to improve your graduate program

It's just this: Food is key. We need more food. (In what follows, I'm speaking not just for MIT theory students, but for all students everywhere.)

Cancel the subscription to 'Journal of Timed Networked Multithreaded Aqueous Automata', and a few others. You've just saved about $20,000.

Use the money to provide copious snacks for students and faculty. Weekly receptions help, but really we're hungry all the time. To elaborate on that point:

-The student center is a tiresome 5-10 minutes away.

-Graduate students are low on cash. We work strange hours that discourage grocery shopping (and may not own a car). Some of us are newly weaned from the meal plans of our undergrad days, and we're only slowly learning to provide for ourselves. The food around here is expensive.

If department budget is truly an issue, there is another way, practiced with admirable success by UC San Diego's CSE department: recruit grad student volunteers to maintain a stocked snack-room, with foods purchased cheaply in bulk and paid for on the honor system. Of course, a snack-room should also be a social space.

Candy and tasty treats help, but it's too easy to over-rely on them and come crashing down. At some point we all wish there were less of these around the office. Consider in their stead:

-bagels
-raisins
-apples and bananas
-peanuts and peanut butter

...all cheap, real-tasting, and calorific.

That's it! An easy, cost-effective intervention that will keep students and faculty working happily in their offices on their next theorem or patentable device.

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3 Comments:

  • Oh such exalted thoughts! I so agree with you!

    By Anonymous 4colours, at 10:23 PM  

  • You should do a phd at TIFR or IIT Kanpur or some other institute in India where you get a very cheap canteen as good or better than a undergraduate canteen. (Its indian food and the salaries are very low of course.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 AM  

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