Pop quiz on popcorn-making

by Xakota Espinoza / Beacon Staff • March 17, 2011

Coming to college, most students quickly learn the basics of dorm life: laundry, dishes, cleaning.

But microwaving popcorn? Apparently that is more complicated.

Around midnight on Tuesday evening, fire alarms in Piano Row went off as smoke filled the hallways of the fourth floor.

In response to the incident, Resident Assistants will be holding a “How To Make Popcorn: Fire Safety Tips” program this Thursday.

Freshman Shakala Alvaranga said the alarms went off after she mistakenly put a miniature sized popcorn bag in the microwave for three minutes instead of the one minute suggested on the bag.

Alvaranga had been hanging out in a suite of freshmen with Lousia Borden when they decided to make a snack. After placing the bag in the microwave, Alvaranga left the suite’s common room and went into Borden’s bedroom until the timer went off.

“When we came out [of the bedroom], the whole common room was filled with smoke,” the broadcast journalism major said. “I took a towel and started waving it around while Louisa opened the windows. The smoke burned our eyes and we couldn’t really breathe; then the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate.”

Fourth floor RA Valentijn Van der Sloot saw the cause of the alarm as an opportunity to hold a popcorn-making program, aimed to teach residents the importance of fire safety while adding an aspect of fun and humor.

According to Van der Sloot, the event will include hanging out and making popcorn while going over proper fire procedures.

“[The plan] is to make a lot of popcorn and drop some fire safety knowledge,” the junior visual and media arts major said.

Discounting routine fire drills, Van der Sloot said this was the first fire alarm incident that he has been present for this year, but that most students seemed to know what to do.

“By going over the procedures we can eliminate that moment of hesitation [during a fire] where students are asking what they’re supposed to do,” he said.

The program will take place today at 7p.m. in the third floor common room of Piano Row.