With music blasting, flags waving and food for sampling, the University came together Sunday to celebrate the start of fall.
Over 2200 students visited Old Campus on Sunday for Yale Dining’s sixth annual “Fall Fest.” The event featured global street food, with each residential dining hall responsible for a different geographic region and cuisine. Although last year’s celebration was moved inside due to rain, the sunny weather this year encouraged students to taste the different foods, amble among the tents and picnic on the grass.
“Today far exceeded our hopes for the event,” said Commons Dining Hall General Manager Maureen O’Donnel-Young. “People are having a great time and enjoying themselves. Plus, the good weather doesn’t hurt.”
Each continent — with the exception of Australia and Antarctica — was represented with five dishes ranging from North America’s “Coney Island Chili Cheese Dogs” to Africa’s “Ethiopian Doro Wat with Iniera.” In addition, there was a dessert stand without country affiliation serving treats such as assorted cookies, brownies, blondie bars and fresh fruit.
Director of Residential Dining Cathy Van Dyke said this was the first year that African food was provided at the outdoor festival. She added that following requests from African students for their cultures to be represented, Director of Culinary Excellence Ron DeSantis met with students to help prepare their favorite recipes from home.
“It has the traffic of an Italian southern market, with people walking around and coming back,” said Luciana Koenig, who was on campus attending the Jonathan Edwards reunion with her husband Michael Koenig ’63. “Today is spectacular — this is like the center square of a little town.”
Students interviewed commended Yale Dining’s attempt to increase multiculturalism in their preparation and service of food.
Jiye Park ’18 said she enjoyed sampling cuisines from different parts of the world, adding that she thought believed the food from each country seemed authentic.
“I am from India, [so] this is exciting for me to get exposure of various foods,” Mohammad Aatish Khan FES ’16 said.
Still, some students believed the food could better adhere to the true fare of the different regions.
Jose Martinez GRD ’20, who is from Puerto Rico, said some of the ethnic food could be improved, specifically the South American dishes, which included “Pork Carnitas” and “Carne Asada.” He added his favorite dish, however, was the burgers from the North American tent.
Another notable feature of the event was its effort to increase sustainability. All flatware provided was entirely biodegradable, Van Dyke said. She added other initiatives included the presence of student volunteers to help direct proper trash disposal and a hydration station, organized by Director of Hospitality and Maintenance Dan Flynn.
Maggie Lynn ’15, volunteer for the Sustainability Service Corps, said everything from the event — except for the Italian ice containers — could be used for composting. She added that her team’s role was to serve as quality control and distinguish between what products were recyclable, compostable or trash.
Some students had further advice for Yale Dining to lower its carbon footprint.
Irene Chung ’17 said that if each student were given a larger, buffet-sized plate, it would be easier to handle and decrease the amount of paper used.
Students also expressed support for the process of exchanging Sunday meal swipes for bracelets required for entry , which most said they did in advance. However, Van Dyke noted that Yale Dining faced some technical difficulties with portable scanners during the day.
Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges were open for regular brunch service on Sunday.