By Ella Polynice
Chartwells presented a Joyful Event in the Clinton Dining Hall Sept. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. This event had a special menu, DJ, photo booth, popcorn machine and more. At the entrance was a welcome wall where students could write what makes them feel at home on campus. Answers included: friends, clubs, beds, food, weather and even help from professors. Some other ways that make students feel at home on campus include community and belonging, the campus facilities and resources, and the opportunities for personal and academic growth.
This event happens twice a semester with the next Chartwells event being a Thankful event in November. They will have the same activities, except it will be a Thanksgiving dinner this time with all the traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Attending the Thankful event will allow students to enjoy delicious food and provide a chance to connect with others and create lasting memories.
Chartwells Higher Education is a company that provides catering for colleges. Plattsburgh has collaborated with Chartwells to offer registered dietitian nutrition services. Campus Dietician Sarah Yandow offers her services to all current students, athletes and staff.
Chef Laura Rathbun, who made the menu for the night,said that she and her team met with the campus dietician and agreed on the menu. There was an entire section for vegans and anyone with an allergy. Menu items were grilled cauliflower steak, sweet potato bar, roasted veggies with quinoa, cheese sauce, steak, carrots with tops, Nashville hot chicken sandwich on a toasted brioche bun with apple slaw and seared chicken skewers
There was an apple cider bar where you could dip your cup in caramel and sugar-cinnamon. At the Joyful event, there was a box containing different recipes you liked. Graduate student Mark Hatton shared his late sister’s famous corn salad as a way of honoring her. Mark is happy the university holds such significant events like Joyful because now he can memorialize her.
The Joyful Celebration tradition began because Chartwells wanted to bring the Plattsburgh community together. Not just campus students were invited to this event. People all around Plattsburgh of all ages come together to eat like a big family. Mackenzie Mainville, Marketing Manager, said, “the team wanted an event to get everyone together, like a meet-and-greet, since COVID-19 had separated us for too long.” In front of the event were tables with information about JED’s Mental Health Resource Center and dietitian tips that could be helpful to live a healthy lifestyle.
The event aimed to foster community, raise awareness about mental health and promote healthy living. Mainville explained that they wanted to provide valuable resources and information to attendees, ensuring that they could take away something meaningful from the event. The tables showcased brochures, pamphlets and expert advice, creating an educational atmosphere for all those who attended. The event also featured live music performances by local artists, adding to the festive atmosphere. Additionally, there were interactive cooking demonstrations where attendees could learn new recipes and cooking techniques to incorporate into their healthy lifestyles.
Alumna Megan McComb works for Overtime Events, the company that was hired to DJ and do a photo booth for the Joyful Event.
“It’s nice to see people having fun on a random Tuesday evening,” McComb said.