Green bean casserole, seasoned chicken, cheesy potatoes and pumpkin pie were just a few of the dishes available for students to dive into at SAC’s One Big Table Potluck dinner.
Students gathered in Bennett Lounge to eat a home cooked meal provided by staff and faculty on Nov. 17. SAC has hosted the event for the past eight years.
“It had a big emphasis on common sense ways to fight hunger,” Director of Student Activities Rae Showen said. “We do still emphasize sustainability through asking everyone to bring their own place settings to try and get away from disposables or Styrofoam. We even use cloth napkins and we strategically do it in November because of Thanksgiving.”
The food is provided by the faculty and staff along with a couple of local restaurants, Skyland Pines, Cafe 1320 and AVI.
“Faculty and staff provide a dish to serve 40 students and we make sure we get a variety of vegetables, bread and deserts,” Showen said. “It’s a nice way to allow them to be involved with SAC and a way for them to serve the students.”
“I was a fan of the cheesy potatoes,” sophomore communications major Joe DiNardo said about Facilities Coordinator Patti Elkin’s cheesy potato dish.
DiNardo also commented about associate professor of history Dr. Jacci Welling’s grape salad.
“The grape salad was unique and very tasty,” he said.
The generosity of the faculty and staff was noted by the students.
“I think it’s really great that they would be so kind as to make this food,” junior communications and community health major Kellie Adams said. “They donated all this food just for us.”
According to students who attended, the event fostered a warm sense of community.
“One of the things I thought was cool is that this little event produced the feeling of family and community,” DiNardo said. “That’s something that the Bible really attributes a lot of value to–personal relationships and communal relationships.”
“The girl that sat beside me I’ve seen around campus but I didn’t know her name,” Adams said. “I met her and learned a lot about her.”
The event’s name, “One Big Table Potluck,” captures this sense of community.
“It’s such a nice event because it really is physically around one big table,” Showen said. “It’s like a big family dinner around the fireplace.”
An event like this requires a lot of preparation from getting the dishes from faculty and staff to refrigerating them and then heating them. The community breached even further into campus as Resident Directors Ali Walls and Kat Gritter offered up their ovens for SAC to use.
The big table was filled by 40 students, the maximum amount for the event. Each year there are a handful of students who are put on a waiting list.
“Every year we have one or two no-shows, which can be frustrating because we save that spot for them and there are always students on the waiting list,” Showen said.
The student interest in this event stems from the opportunity to eat homemade food.
“I think students all in all just love to eat good food,” Showen said. “I think there is something about the fact that it is hand-prepared that makes it special. It’s not like we just order pizza. It’s a labor of love on part of the staff.”
This traditional dinner is an opportunity for students to have a little piece of home away from home.
“I would definitely recommend that people come next year,” Adams said. “It’s just something different from the usual cafeteria and you can try new things. I tried three new dishes that I had never had before.”
Rachel Judy is a contributing writer for Aviso AVW.