Students line up for free food

Affording Chartwell's free birthday events is a piece of cake. Photo by Andrea CurrieBy Andrea Currie

News Editor

Hudson Valley students have several recurring opportunities to receive free food from the college. The first Free Pizza Wednesday of the semester was held on Jan. 28 in the Naked Pear Café on the ground floor of Siek Campus Center. On Friday, Jan. 30 in the campus center food court, Chartwells kicked off its ‘reboot’ of a monthly tradition: giving away slices of birthday cake in honor of that month’s birthdays.

At 11:41 a.m. on Jan. 28, there were four students in line for Free Pizza Wednesday. Five minutes later, nearly 20 more students had joined the line.

Thomas Pulley, a criminal justice major, said that a friend had told him about the weekly pizza giveaway. “I try to come here every week, but usually if you get here late, all the pizza’s gone,” he said. If he arrives too late to get pizza, he said, “I have a small temper tantrum and walk away.”

A student in line said that the Student Activities Office, which sponsors the event, usually brings about 15 pies and sometimes brings down more depending on availability. Student senators and volunteers staff the event. The Student Activities Office has been hosting Free Pizza Wednesday for about 10 years.

This week, he was in time to receive a ticket for a slice, which Alfredo Balarin, assistant director of student life, was handing out from a bubble-gum bucket to each student in line to ensure that everyone received one slice. Meanwhile, Louis Coplin, director of student life, handed out flyers advertising the upcoming Community Sports Day on Feb. 7 and the Student Activities Office leadership workshops, Mondays at 3 p.m.

By noon, all the pizza boxes were empty. The next giveaway would be at 12:50 p.m.

On Friday, Jan. 30, students had the chance to taste free dessert at the Chartwells birthday cake giveaway, held in the Siek Campus Center food court. Andrea Hotaling-Lizzi, director of catering, said that Chartwells had been offering the monthly birthday cake giveaway at Hudson Valley for six or seven years.

John Poole, director of dining services, said, “It’s a great way to recognize students, faculty, and staff. Who doesn’t like a little birthday cake?” he said.

Poole said that due to changes in Chartwells marketing plans, the giveaway was not held in Fall 2014. Friday’s giveaway, he said, was “a reboot, if you will.”

Poole said that the giveaway was first-come, first-serve. “The cake feeds a little over a hundred people,” he said. “We’ll play it by ear this month, and if the cake runs out real fast, we’ll make more in February.”

Poole said that students would have to show a government-issued ID proving that their birthday was that month in order to receive a free slice of cake.

This month’s cake was made by Erina LaPorta, baker/chef’s assistant at Chartwells. It was a two-layer chocolate and vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. Hotaling-Lizzi confirmed that the frosting was homemade.

At 11:30 a.m., an hour and a half into the giveaway, three-quarters of the cake had not yet been cut, and a cafeteria worker encouraged a student to take a piece, saying that it was free for everyone.

Free Pizza Wednesday will be held every Wednesday at 11:50 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. for the rest of the semester. The next Chartwells birthday cake giveaway, in honor of February birthdays, will be held Friday, Feb. 27, starting at 10 a.m.

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