For many university students, making new friends, having fun and studying hard are usually at the top of mind; less so are proper nutrition and healthy food choices. That’s where Spoon University comes in. The food resource website features recipes, local restaurant reviews, lifestyle tips and “dining hall hacks” to help students eat intelligently. Powered by student contributors from more than 50 campuses in North America, the website now has a University of Guelph chapter.
“As soon as I understood the concept, I wanted to bring this to Guelph,” says third-year biomedical science student Joey Tang. “There are lots of foodies here, and we are known for our food-related programs as well. I knew it would be a good fit.”
Tang worked with students Liyan Cai, a first-year food sciences student, Cheryl Ching, a third-year human nutrition student, and Katrina Cuthbertson, a second-year food sciences student, to form the Guelph chapter. They also created an official U of G Spoon University student club in the process. Tang is editor-in-chief; the group also includes writers, editors, photographers, videographers and a marketing team. Their goal is to create intriguing articles that will interest Guelph students and others who have a passion for food.
MacKenzie Chee and Brandon Guild, both master’s students in food science, are writers for the site.
“It’s all about the different ways we connect with food,” says Guild. “So you’ll see articles about how to cook, where to eat out, cooking tools, what you might want to know about your foods. It’s like Buzzfeed food for university students.”
Each writer is expected to prepare three ideas for a weekly pitch meeting; one is chosen for the writer to complete that week. For cooking articles, a photographer or videographer may come to the writer’s residence to get shots of the food being prepared.
U of G is one of only three Canadian universities to join Spoon University, which originally started at Northwestern University.
Since starting in March, Tang and his team have posted more than 20 articles, including “Two Microwave Dinners You Can Make in Just One Beyoncé Song,” “Five Guelph Restaurants That’ll Impress Your First Date” and “Seven Simple Additions to Take Your BLT Up a Notch.”
Although the student positions are volunteer posts, contributors describe the experience as a fun, social activity that can also enrich their resumés at graduation.
“I’ve enjoyed being in a leadership role — helping to manage a whole team, dealing with conflicts and also working with the head office of Spoon University,” says Cai, who works as vice-president of operations.
The Guelph chapter of Spoon University will continue to publish articles during the summer. New members are welcome, and story ideas can be sent to Tang at firstname.lastname@example.org.