By McKenna Brazie
Dining services play an important role here on campus at SUNY Plattsburgh, more than many people realize. Not only does dining provide food as fuel for students, but it also creates a fun atmosphere for friends, groups and events.
This semester, a novel program was created within dining services to enhance the students’ experience on campus. This new role allowed certain current students to become Dining Ambassadors, the liaison between students and the people behind the scenes at dining.
The Dining Ambassadors have many tasks, such as polling students to see what they want to see at dining halls, what food or offer works well or what doesn’t. The ambassadors also are active on social media, posting about dining events or highlighting all the food offered.
“The Dining Ambassador program was created to fill the gap between dining staff and students,” Dining Ambassador Grace Ewing said. “The dining staff really care about the students and truly want everyone to feel at home on campus.”
All the current ambassadors are full-time students living on campus — they are the voice of the majority student population. Having this role allows Ewing to relay what the students are searching for in dining halls.
The Dining Ambassadors, as well as posting on their personal social media accounts, also partake in monthly Instagram takeovers for the Plattsburgh Dining account. On these takeover dates, students can follow ambassadors throughout the day and discover special offers, new meal ideas and more across campus.
The Ambassadors also meet with other dining representatives on campus, such as the school nutritionist, Sarah Yandow. Together, they are spreading the word about Vegan Awareness Month this November.
“We have all these vegan options on campus, it’s just not well advertised,” Yandow said.
Following this idea, vegan-centered social media posts are planned for the future. Vegan events are also planned on campus, such as vegan smoothies appearing in Clinton this November. They are also planning more social media posts promoting vegan options on campus.
Students on campus are encouraged to download the mobile app Boost, which allows them to pre-order food for mobile pickup without waiting in lines. Locations with the Boost option include Tim Hortons, Einstein’s Bagel Bros, Sundowner and Kent Cafe.
Bygone dining events this semester seem to foreshadow more events to come. One such past event was the successful Fall Festi-ful at Clinton this October. The main dining hall was filled with students, professors, dining staff and the Ambassadors. Dining employees from other venues such as Kent Cafe were also present.
Students enjoyed outside games such as giant Jenga and cornhole, as well as Do-It-Yourself s’mores, free apple cider and donuts. Inside, an array of fall-theme food was available. Besides the meal, pumpkin painting was popular with students all around. The accompanying DJ and photo booth truly made the Festi-ful a wonderful experience outside the normal school day.
Another popular on-campus event was the Farmers’ Market, where local small businesses sold goods in Amity plaza, alongside the school bakery. Also present was the school’s Garden Club, giving free kale chips. Many students were surprised to learn that the kale was grown on-campus, and baked by one of SUNY Plattsburgh’s chefs.
The school bakery sold donuts, cookies and breads, all house made, as well as gave away free samples. The ambassadors and other dining employees were also present to promote Dining Services.
“These events provide students with opportunities to participate in community centered events to support those around them beyond campus life,” Dining Ambassador Lindsey Connor said.
Students can look forward to more future dining events and limited time offers, such as special Thanksgiving-theme food and events, vegan smoothies, sushi bowls and a hot cocoa bar.
Students interested in sharing ideas for future dining events are encouraged to reach out to the Dining Ambassadors, at their Instagram accounts: Lindsey Connor, @linz_conn19, Grace Ewing, @gracieheartstheater, McKenna Brazie @macdaddy_brazie, Plattsburgh Dining @plattsburgh_dining.
Dining is a vital part of campus life. Feeding students, employing students and giving students a place or event to relax and enjoy the college atmosphere is important to all campus life. With the help of the dining ambassadors, dining can make these experiences even better throughout the semester.