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Monday, January 27, 2014

DECA Marketing Competition at Middlesex County College

Chambers Hall, Middlesex County College

In January, high school students from various Marketing Education Programs across the State of New Jersey participated in the first of their DECA (an Association of Marketing Students) competitions. The regional conference brought me to Middlesex County College, where I was a volunteer judge serving in the role of a CEO of a nationwide supermarket chain.  

College Center, Middlesex County College
Teams of two students were given a hypothetical situation that the supermarket chain was facing. They prepared for thirty minutes, and then pitched a marketing campaign for the changes to the business that they proposed.   Each team was judged and scored.  This was a wonderful opportunity for high school students to compete, get real-life experience with business people, and to have the opportunity to earn scholarship money for college. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Special food needs at college

Food sustains us and provides us a social outlet.  I typically suggest that all students visiting a college try the food and watch the interaction among students in the college dining facilities.  For some students, food is more important.  Eating can be a life and death decision for a student with a severe food allergy.  Gluten can make a student with celiac disease become ill.  There are also many students who have a diet based on religious and/or moral principles.  They may only eat vegetarian, vegan, Kosher or Halal food.  So what is a student to do?

Food allergies or celiac disease.  If you are a student with a food allergy or celiac disease, consider the guidance on Choosing a School, Dorm Living, Alcohol and Epinephrine, and The Kiss Study provided by Food Allergy Research & Education.  Make sure to ask questions of the dining hall staff and to speak to students with your health problem and see how well or poorly they are doing with the college’s food services.

The food service provider Sodexho has recently started the Simple Servings station, a station containing food prepared without milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten.  This should be a good match for students with a gluten-sensitivity, like those with celiac disease, as well as the most common food allergies. 

According to the Department of Justice, food allergies may constitute a disability under the ADA. That doesn't mean I haven’t heard of cases where a student transfers after a year at a college because they have ended up in the hospital emergency room several times because of a severe allergic reaction to food from the college dining hall. 
Vegetarians and vegans.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan student, check out what food choices will you have on campus.  Check if vegetarian and vegan foods are clearly marked in the dining facilities.  There are often vegetarian or vegan food stations and occasionally, a vegetarian or vegan dining hall, like State University of New York Purchase's all-vegetarian eating facility, Terra Ve.

Terra Ve, Vegetarian Dining Hall at SUNY Purchase

Kosher or Halal food.  If you are looking for Kosher or Halal food, here are some questions you might have.
  • Is the food available and acceptable to you?
  • Is it fresh food or just “frozen” dinners, which you can reheat? 
  • Is the food part of the normal meal plan or will you have to spend extra for a special meal plan?
  • Where on campus is the food available?
  • Is there special food available during Passover or Ramadan? 
The Hillel College guide and the Heart to Heart’s Map of Kosher Food on Campus are great starting places for students looking for Kosher dining on campus.  Since Kosher dining on campus is often both Kosher and Halal certified, this may also be a good starting place for Muslim students wanting Halal food.  Muslim students may also want to check with the Muslim student organizations on campus.  

What is your experience with special food needs at college?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Johnson and Wales University (JWU) - Part II

In January 2014, I visited the Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  The university has two campuses in Providence: Harborside, with a view of the water and Downcity, in downtown Providence.  Both campuses have housing, dining, and sports facilities and there is free bus transportation between the campuses.  My tour guide Rain lived in campus housing at the Downcity campus, while attending class in the Harborside campus.

JWU is a good match for a student who knows what they want to study, wants to take classes in their major starting in their Freshman year, and wants practical, hands-on, experiential learning.  To learn more about Johnson and Wales University, see my December 2013 blog post.

Cuisinart Center for Culinary Arts
Harborside Campus -  The Harborside campus is the home of the College of Culinary Arts.  The Cuisinart Center for Culinary Arts, built in 2009, is the jewel of the campus.  This $38 million, LEED-certified four-story building is a unique facility filled with “labs” for culinary and baking students.  As you walk by each of the labs, you can watch the students cutting, cooking, baking, making chocolate, etc.
Baking Lab

During the 1st two years at the culinary college, the students spend two trimesters a year in cooking or baking labs and 1 trimester a year in traditional classes.  The labs are 6 hour a day, 4 days a week.  The culinary students earn an associates degree after two years and can stay for two more years for a variety of Bachelors degrees. 
Dough sculpture made by JWU students

Sugar sculpture made by baking students

Decorated cakes on display

Wildcat Center - Gym facilities in Harborside Campus

The Harborside campus has most of the green grass, and has the sports playing fields.  Freshmen in Harborside live mostly in triples or quads.  There is apartment style housing available for upperclassmen.  Housing for juniors and seniors is very convenient; housing for Sophomores is a bit of a walk.  School cost includes knives and uniforms that the students wear in the lab.     

Downcity Campus -  The Downcity campus houses the College of Business, the School of Technology, the Hospitality College, and the School of Arts and Sciences.  The Hospitality College students run the Radisson Hotel in nearby Warwick, Rhode Island, where I stayed overnight.  Freshmen in Downcity live mostly in doubles.  There is also housing for upperclassmen.  The food at the Snowden Dining Hall where I ate was tasty and cooked by students.  JWU is building new facilities for the Physicians Assistant program and for additional parking in the Downcity campus.  JWU is planning to move the building that houses the School of Technology closer to the other Downcity campus buildings.