I often find myself defending UVU. I have always seen most of the defamation hurled our way as coming from a place of culturally supported snobbery and ignorance.

That was until I saw the opening of the new Taco Bell.

Classy UVU. Classy.

Life rarely surprises me, but the morning I walked down the PE hallway and passed a cameraman and a master of ceremonies, I stopped cold and my mouth gaped open in astonishment.

I felt the need to take out my ear buds to rejoin society, hoping to make sense of my surroundings.

Had I fallen down the rabbit hole? Or was a man in a suit really making a speech about exciting progress next to a piñata, bathed in pink florescent Taco Bell light?

A myriad of conflicting reactions coursed through my mind. I was stuck somewhere between the sheer glee found only in watching human stupidity and the utter exasperation that comes with the realization that you’re a part of an institution that not only welcomed one of the worst fast food chains to its halls, but commemorated it.

Is it not degrading enough that we have a Taco Bell on campus; do we really need to celebrate it?

Perhaps some of my distaste for the new restaurant comes from my resentment in losing the Lossee Café dining space. It was prime studying real estate.  Now the Lossee Café is awkwardly jutting out of the wall in the overly congested PE hallway.

Or maybe it comes from the revulsion I experience every time my nose is assaulted with the smells of sizzling fat and stale taquitos.

Either way, I try to avoid gawking at the long line of future heart attack victims, excited by capitalism and cheap Tex-Mex burritos: The new American Dream.

The whole thing is a little too reminiscent of the overexcitement surrounding In & Out Burger when it came to Utah in 2009.

I have a hard enough time standing in line to watch my favorite band play, let alone to experience the rare sensation of feeling my own arteries harden. But in Utah, if you build a fast food joint, they will come ready to wait for Doritos flavored tacos.

One must appreciate the near poetic juxtaposition that only a Taco Bell can express snuggled between Jamba Juice and the Exercise Science department in the Physical Education building.

Don’t worry, vegetarian students have been asking for viable vegetarian options on campus for years now, and what do they have to show for it? A new fast food restaurant built on thawed ground beef, whose idea of vegetables is limp iceberg lettuce and unripe tomato cubes.

On the bright side, Taco Bell made it just in time for the UVU’s Global spotlight on Mexico. What a serendipitous coincidence—at least I hope it was a coincidence. So, while we’re celebrating all that Mexico has given the great US of A, we can also continue our pimping of their food culture.

Here’s to hoping the Taco Bell chihuahua graces the halls of UVU before I graduate. One can dream right? Live más, muchachos.

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Nicole Shepard is an Integrated Studies major at UVU. She is emphasizing in Writing Studies, Journalism and Peace and Justice Studies, and will graduate spring 2014. Nicole is hoping to work in cause journalism and advocate for restorative justice practices. She has lived in Europe three times she is also considering graduate school in the UK. Nicole is the news editor for the UVU Review.