Column by Patrick Sims
Greetings, freshmen. Welcome to UK. This is your leader speaking. We come in peace. We bring copious amounts of food. Do not be afraid. We will stuff you, and you will be satiated and cease to feel out of place. We will teach you many things. We will make you smart and plump and sedentary. Do not be afraid. Welcome to K Week. You will soon be one of us.
Okay, so K Week is not an alien invasion… it’s an alien indoctrination. If you’re not yet a chronic over-eater, rest assured. These next nine days will serve as the prime time of your life to stop being healthy and start getting fat.
K Week, the university’s nine day freshmen welcomejamboree, succeeds at one thing assuredly: making students really, really full.
The extended week of miscellaneous, UK related activities boasts 257 meandering endeavors. Of these, a nauseating 68 offer free food. That’s an average of more than 7.5 free meals per day through K Week.
Included in K Week’s vapid event goulash are some real gut-wadding gatherings.
For example, “Fourth Meal Four Square,” inspired by fourth meal and popularized by the nauseatingly oozy Taco Bell, is the accessory meal to be eaten late at night. During this time, you should really be asleep — but boredom is at its highest, and better judgment at its lowest.
Another event, “12 & 12 Pancakes,” is a recurring all-you-can-eat pancake-and-syrup-insulin assault served every noon and midnight all nine days.
All three of these events take place in the same day. Do not be afraid.
Notwithstanding the fact that free food is an excellent disguise for dull events, in a grander sense, it conditions students to many perilous perceptions.
Firstly, K Week and its many all-you-can-possibly-consume events foster the notion that food is omnipresent and endless.
While not only is unlimited food preparation wasteful and environmentally unsustainable, it indoctrinates the belief that one should eat in the same fashion as the food available: endlessly.
K Week’s events, while mostly transparent in their depth of appeal, will manage to keep the attention of their patronage just enough to cultivate a climate of perhaps the most dangerous unintended side-effect of K Week’s mass consumptions: passive eating.
By first providing an unlimited source of food for participants, and then by distracting them while they eat it, students will undoubtedly eat not only more than they should — they will eat more than they think.
Herein lies the paramount danger obscured. K Week begins a momentous shift in UK students’ perceptions of satiety.
It encourages eating wherein students pay no mind to the substance and volume they eat and also conditions students to need a distraction while doing so. To eat becomes no longer a singular event, but rather, a supplement to what we learn to deem as more pressing or stimulating endeavors.
What’s worse is K Week does not equally offer or even nearly attempt to equate a number of active events to those offering food.
Out of the nine days of K Week, only 11 events involve physical activity; and eight of these are nothing more than listings encouraging people to go to the Johnson Center at midnight, when they could canoodle with a stack of pancakes instead.
This is not a task that the Johnson Center can tackle alone. Wildcat Wheels should be commended for offering two events during K Week promoting bicycle riding as a healthy and sustainable means of transportation and for leading two group rides, one on campus, and one in downtown Lexington.
K Week lasts only nine days, so its effect, while pervasive, is at least not enduring. Commons Market, however, the south campus stronghold for inconceivably great quantities and unbelievably low qualities of food, will pick up where K Week leaves off.
Thanks to Commons Market (and its posh yet equally obese brother, Blazer Hall), I gained 45 lbs. in my fall semester of freshman year — passively eating, watching televisions, chatting with friends, making the meal about anything but the food.
The freshman 15 is cliche, but only because now it is more of a social joke than it is a present worry. Those who gain it brush it off as something that is “supposed” to happen, and those who don’t herald their own triumph, while at the same time failing to analyze if their lifestyle has been affected adversely by learning new means of passively and endlessly eating.
K Week is now. Your indoctrination is complete. Eat passively, be full endlessly, and remember always that food is requisite of your new, important life as a UK student. Pay no attention to your expanding waistline. It is all part of the plan.
It’s not an alien invasion. It’s K Week indoctrination. Are you one of us yet?