October 12, 2009 | Chase Sagum | 8 Comments Junk food and caffeine keep universities running. When you step onto a campus and see students bustling to and fro, pumping out volumes of writing, grinding through exams, and still having enough energy to hit the bar or party, all of that movement is fueled by junk food and caffeine. So when I see government and other policy-influencing bodies trying to ban or otherwise limit that oh so vital energy supply, I get a little nervous. Historically speaking, trying to ban, illegalize, or limit certain consumables does not inhibit the actual use of such items. I mean, look at alcohol, drugs, or marijuana. I know the government can’t resist putting its overreaching mitts in everything it possibly can, but I am putting out my objection here now: KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF MY CHIPS! It’s not government’s place. What I eat is my private space, and if I want to be obese that is my choice. You can’t legislate the nation’s students to good health. Other than this very good reason, here are 5 reasons why we need junk food and why the nation’s institutions of higher learning would collapse without it: There’s no such thing as healthy stress food. Plain and simple: a stick of celery just does not deliver the feel-good boost of a plate of nachos or a microwaveable bean burrito. Sure, there is a certain sub-species of student that thrives on soy products and grass. But, for the average joe, we need something rich, sugary or salty, that delivers a significant amount of cholesterol, to calm the soul. Healthy food is expensive. Let’s say you are willing to feed on rice cakes and gluten-free bread. You better count on paying more for those products and more for gas to drive to a grocery store that sells those products because you won’t find them on a college campus. With all you pay for books, room and board, tuition, parking, and any other host of ridiculous school expenses, few can afford to shell out the extra cash to shop at Whole Foods. Healthy food is inconvenient. Almost by its very nature, healthy foods require some kind of preparation. It has to be prepared on a daily basis. It’s usually not something you can just pick up in 30 seconds at a vending machine, cafeteria, or hot dog stand and munch on while you sprint to your next class on the other end of campus. Try doing that with a slab of tofu in your hand. “Fresh” vending machine food is gross. Whenever you open a bag of Doritos, you know it’s going to be good, crispy, and zesty. But who can say the same thing about “fresh” vending machine food, like sandwiches or apples. They almost always have a disturbingly flat taste. Some parts of the sandwich are overly dry, while the other parts are too soggy. Apples can’t keep you awake for 24 hours straight. Midterms, term papers, and finals equal nights with little or no sleep. Those long hauls require something a little more potent than fresh food. No, to stay coherent for 36 hours or more you need caffeine. There’s no getting around it. So tell the government to mind their own meals. The future of higher education depends on it. And celebrate your right to scarf that bag of Cheetos or inhale that fifth Mountain Dew.