TWU Dining Hall and Services hosted their second annual Fall Festiful at the dining hall on Oct. 6. The festival included painting pumpkins, a pumpkin spice latte teaching class, an apple and cheese flight table and a farmer’s market.
Diane Jackson, Senior Director of Dining Services, talked about the idea for the Fall Festiful and how the concept dates back to the pandemic and when the dining hall was built.
“The dining hall was built for social gatherings,” Jackson said. “It was always about bringing all the students together and the students to hang out.”
Students in attendance of the event were seen with beautifully painted pumpkins accompanied by a warm pumpkin spice latte to welcome in the Fall season.
Jackson explained that when the pandemic took place, it brought about isolation, and students and staff could no longer enjoy the dining hall. Now, post-pandemic everyone is back to socializing.
“So, our programs with Chartwells are about gatherings and about bringing students together and being able to have these events to bring everyone together to have fun and to do things,” Jackson said.
Events planned by Dining Services are curated through marketing calendars and are then shared with Jill Eckardt in housing to dutifully ensure students will come out and participate.
“We do these events multiple times during the year just to bring them out and we just like to see the students have fun and enjoy,” she said.
Smiles were seen at the event as students in attendance were able to come out and reign in the Fall season with activities curated just for them.
The farmers market contained products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, vegan nut butter, fresh pressed juices and plants that students could take home and nurture from their dorms.
Jackson explained that vendors such as First Point in Dallas sourced many of the aforementioned products that were seen and available for purchase at the event.
Many vendors that TWU Dining Services works with are local farmers that are within a 100 to 150-mile radius. Jackson explains that she makes sure they are working with vendors who are within the state of Texas.
Marketing Director of Dining Services, Madeline Anthony, explained the importance of having a farmer’s market on campus and products available for students to purchase.
“We wanted to bring the community back to the dining hall but not only just bring them back to the dining hall, it was also meant to bring local vendors to the campus and to be able to introduce them to students,” Anthony said.
Anthony explained that students are only shopping at their grocery stores and that they are not going to the farmer’s market.
Spread Happiness was a vendor inside of the farmer’s market that specializes in nut butter, vegan, vegetarian, and keto products.
“We brought her in that way we can show supporting the whole community and vice versa,” Anthony said.
The Fall Festiful saw a tremendous turnout in comparison to the event that was held last year. Holding the event allowed students the opportunity to rebuild and connect post pandemic and usher in a new season with amazing activities and resources.
“It was really cool,” Anthony said. “We reached out by going to local farmer’s markets and being able to have that face-to-face contact, so it was nice once we finally got to the end of it all and everybody was able to see their products together and being able to actually visualize it and have the tangible items.”
The Festiful will be making its way back through TWU Dining Services and Dining Hall as there will be another in the spring.
Brielle Gines can be reached via email at email@example.com.