With the new school year starting in less than a month, it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping, especially if you’re on the lookout for furnishings and decorations. If you’re living in Spelman this year, however, you can take “microwave” off that list. Citing concerns regarding false smoke alarms, the Princeton has installed their own microwaves in every Spelman kitchen, prohibiting students from bringing their own in the process. Here’s everything you need to know about your new microwave, the MicroFridge MFM-7D1S.

700 watts

With an output of only 700 watts, the new microwaves are several hundred watts below the previous maximum wattage allowed in Spelman. For those readers who haven’t taken Physics 101 yet, wattage determines how fast your food cooks. Most microwaves run between 600-1200 watts, so the MicroFridge is definitely on the weaker end. This will cause longer cooking times, and your food may not cook as evenly. For example, a cup of cold water will take a full minute longer to bring to boil in a 700w microwave (about 3 minutes) compared to one that’s 1000 watts. At the beginning of the year, expect to take some time to get a hang for the MicroFridge’s power level and heating times.


You’ll have to wait a full minute longer for this cup of tea

0.7 cubic feet

On top of being weaker, the MicroFridge is also smaller than the typical microwave. There isn’t a lot of counter space in Spelman kitchens, so this is a sensible accommodation. However, you will almost definitely not be able to use your Spelman microwave to cook the same things you do at home, especially if you’re making a meal to feed the whole room. Think about whether it’ll fit first before you buy that frozen dinner or prepare that bowl of ramen.

Programmed Recipes

Like most microwaves, the MicroFridge comes with the option to use heating times based on preprogrammed recipes, specifically popcorn, soup, beverage, pizza, and an ambiguous “everything else” selection named dinner plates. These presets allow you to vary the time based on the serving size, which is well detailed in the manual. Like any new technology, I recommend you look over the manual specifications first before using these buttons.


Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Charging station

The MicroFridge conveniently has a built-in charging station with one regular outlet and two USB outlets, making it easy to charge your mobile devices, whether it’s your phone or even your laptop. All you need to do is plug your phone cord or laptop charger into the microwave, and it can be fully charged by your next meal. Better yet, if you want to cook with your iPad, you no longer need to worry about making sure the battery is enough left. Definitely a college-friendly feature for when you need your phone for the next day but can’t find your phone’s wall charger after a drunken night out.

Smoke detection

Lastly, it seems that the primary motivation of Princeton to choose this microwave was its built-in internal smoke detector that will shut off all power if it detects excessive smoke. Detailed instructions are included in the university’s official notice to future Spelman residents, but basically if you burn your food too much, you’ll need to carefully remove the food and clear out the smoke before you can clear the smoke detector and use the microwave again.

What about the microwave I was planning on bringing?

Unfortunately, due to the new restrictions, anyone who bought, inherited, or wanted to reuse a microwave from a Spelman room last year seems to be out of luck. Those who haven’t gotten one yet do get to enjoy this new microwave for free, albeit sacrificing a bit of effectiveness and practicality for better fire safety. As a reminder, if you are not living in Spelman but still want to have a microwave at school, the Microfridge offered by Student Agencies is the only approved microwave for students in dorms. Anyone who has a non-approved microwave in their room can face fines and confiscation if the microwave is discovered during room inspection, so bring at your own risk!