Students Who Do Cool Things: Nate Parrott ‘17.5, creator of Ratty App

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Everyone’s been there: you’re painfully, paralyzingly hung over, and you NEED to get to the Ratty for some TLC/CT Crunch. Your laptop is an insurmountable 6 feet way on your desk, but you simply must know what’s at the Ratty. It’s a very specific, yet, for many Brown students, shockingly common crisis.

Enter the Ratty App, the creation of Nate Parrott ‘17.5. Now, iPhone users (sorry, Android et al. owners) can check what’s cooking at the school’s biggest dining hall on a very aesthetically pleasing interface. In addition, you can add the menu to your phone’s Notification Center to check whether or not they’re serving grilled cheese (Ed. – probably.) with a simple downward swipe of a finger.

Even the most hung over Brunonian can figure that one out. That is, unless your phone is dead, in which case God help you and your poor soul.

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Not quite viral: President Paxson’s online office hours

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Yesterday, The Brown Undergraduate Council of Students set up their own version of a Reddit-style AMA for President Christina Paxson. From 2:30-3:30pm they opened up a comment thread on their Facebook page and invited students to ask the president questions which she could respond to in real time.

There were 33 questions asked. Here are some things we learned:

Classes of ’16 and ’17 will not see a renovated Ratty.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.14.11 PMStill, the new Ratty may not feel all that new.

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Paxson will go anywhere with Margeurite.

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FlogDailyHerald: Chicken finger (no)Fri(es)day

Ah, chicken finger Friday: the long lines, the weekly arrival of honey mustard at the VDub, and, much to my chagrin, the consistent absence of fries. Why does the VDub, which seems to serve fries every other day and meal of the week, decide to forgo the crispy potatoes on chicken finger Friday, when it would be most obvious to include the oily side dish?

Chicken finger Friday is a staple of Brown dining, so much so that it caused a slight panic when cancelled, and uproar when moved, unannounced, to a different weekday. It’s marked by the noon and 1 p.m. rushes, the long line on the “ice cream machine” side of the VDub, and the forgotten, near-barren line on the “waffle maker” side.

Where's the fries?

Where are the fries??

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Calling people out on their shit: The Rackers

People generally fall into two categories after they finish their meals and leave the Ratty. There are “Sorters” and there are “Rackers.” The Sorters clear the leftover trash on their plates, separating paper waste from food waste, and place their dishes, cups, and silverware into the appropriate containers. The Rackers shove their miscellaneous plate-cup-food-trash stacks onto the tray towers adjacent to the sorting system.

During breakfast at the Ratty on Monday I sat near the sorting/racking station and kept track of who racked and who sorted. To my surprise, the split was dead even. As I sorted my own plates, I left the Ratty disappointed that half of Brown students were too lazy to take six seconds to make the jobs of the men and women at Dining Services a little easier.

When I brought up this phenomenon to a friend who happened to be a Racker, he defended himself: If sorting really made life that much easier for kitchen staff, why do they even have racks out in the first place? So after my next meal I went into lazy investigative journalism mode and asked the same question the first conveniently available BDS employee I saw, Arlindo.

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(Campus)Lifehacker: Orange creamsicle floats at the Ratty

For those who feel a little sick after their 100th consecutive delicious waffle cake for desert when dining at the Ratty, try a delightful, refreshing alternative: the Ratty orange creamsicle float. Here’s how you make it:

1. Grab a glass. Grumble to yourself about how ridiculously small the Ratty cups are compared to the V-Dub’s normal-sized ones.

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2. Go to the soda machine that dispenses Fanta, located to the back left of the Ratty. Fill it up halfway.

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3. Get some vanilla soft serve, located in the Bistro section. Grumble to yourself how the ice cream is so inconveniently located from the Fanta machine, and how walking/exercise is the worst.

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4. Put the vanilla ice cream in the orange soda. Grab a spoon, stir it up, and enjoy!

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Ratty-floorplan

Avec Meal Plan: The Ratty

Ratty floorplan

Here’s the deal. If you think the Ratty sucks, you’re just high maintenance. No, it’s not three catered meals given to you on a silver tray by Wolfgang Puck, but if you thought it would be, that’s on you. It’s a college dining hall, and when a single kitchen has to serve three square meals a day in a (theoretically) unlimited quantity to thousands of hungry students, I think it deserves to be cut some slack.

The Ratty is not delicious, but that is as much your fault as the Ratty’s. You clearly just aren’t aware of the options available to you. You are making your Ratty experience sucky when it could be distinctly just alright.

The lunch rush happens around 11:50am and lasts till around 12:45pm since, you know, that’s lunch time. Hate lines? Guess what? Not the Ratty’s fault. Eat a nice breakfast and you’ll be able to hold out until 1. Eat an early lunch and you’ll just have a nice afternoon pre-dinner snack. If you can spend time in the Ratty, you have time to make a perfectly tasty and respectable meal.


Bistro/Chef’s Corner:

These are perhaps the two busiest lines of any eatery on Brown’s campus during the lunch rush, but it also serves the main food options, which can be satisfying or mediocre depending on the day. The Bistro station serves breakfast items through the afternoon, and then it switches to hot entrees and sides. Breakfast for lunch is always a good look, and one frequently unconsidered past noon. You are not better than 1p.m. french toast, and don’t you forget it. Chef’s Corner usually serves alternative entrees, but if Bistro is serving something popular (i.e. chicken fingers), then Chef’s Corner will serve it as well. In any case, checking out both sides is usually a good idea.

Apricot noodles with beef is weird, but damn, snaps for bravery.

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