BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– LSU’s campus was filled with food and games on Friday as the university took part in a nationwide food festival where more than 1.5 million students from 300 colleges participated.
The food festival on LSU’S campus celebrated togetherness after a year of separation and isolation for many due to the pandemic. This event was in partnership with LSU, Chartwells Higher Education and other food services.
“It was definitely a pleasant surprise,” said LSU student Sophie Jones.
Food is one thing that brings all Louisianans together and there was plenty at the joyful festival. They had food contests, including a jambalaya-making contest and a sushi competition.
“There is music, free food, inflatable games — all really fun things. So, yeah, I think you’ll see like a community coming together after a long, hard year,” said LSU student McKenzie Grundmeyer.
“So we’re bringing a little bit of Food Network competition to LSU. You’re also going to see other food vendors and partners. You’re going to see thousands of students here celebrating,” said celebrity chef Jet Tila.
He said the purpose of the event was to spread joy as colleges across the country concurrently celebrated.
“We were all disconnected during the pandemic, I think a huge toll was on actually, you know, college-age kids and all kids, by the way. But this was one way that LSU and Tara Harwell’s, you know, could bring some happiness back,” said Tila.
Students second his sentiment and said things haven’t been easy this past year.
“It’s been a lot. Like, with school and the hurricanes, and obviously the added pandemic. And I’m just trying to find my sense of normalcy in all of it,” said LSU student Laine Cohen.
They said events like this go a long way, lifting their spirits.
“Definitely after the pandemic, it’s really good to, you know, connect with everyone again and see everyone’s faces and having fun together,” Grundmeyer said.
“Festivals and stuff are always fun and just reminding everyone that we’re not through the pandemic yet, but it’s obviously getting better so we can have all these things and everything is coming back to normal [with] classes or in-person football games again,” said Jones.
Events like this attract lots of people, making it a COVID-19 concern, however, many students believe it was held in a safe manner.
“They actually sent an email about how the majority of our campus is vaccinated, we are at a very low rate for COVID right now. You know, it’s outside, people do not stay in the same place for too long,” Grundmeyer explained.
“Everyone’s trying to do their part to try and have a fun festival, do it for any normal school year if we can. I think the fact that it is outside definitely helps,” said Jones.
They hosted an Instagram livestream. Some of the money from that event will be donated to help provide meals to children in need.
To contribute you can visit Chartwells High Education Instagram to chip in by liking, sharing or commenting under their post.