A day at the fair (in GQ)

Vendors share new foods with students

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The General’s Quarters (GQ) is located within Seegers Union, the heart of campus. On any given day, it is filled with the hustle and bustle of the Muhlenberg population. On Friday, Feb. 21, some of the usual tables were missing once the afternoon rolled around. While students went in and out as usual, long tables were brought out and people could be seen setting up shop. Stretching from the entrance of Seegers through GQ and into the GQ Annex, the end result was the Spring Vendor Fair.

The vendor fair featured partners that are essential in getting products from their origin point to campus. It has been said to be the  “first annual” one of its kind. 

Georg Holz, the coordinator of the event, explained how and why the event was organized. Holz said, “Valued vendor-partners were requested to present new products that would strengthen Dining Service’s relationship with the College community, build new sales opportunities with our retail customers, help them to build their brands with college-age consumers and for them to meet the community that we serve. In the process, we hoped that the customers would feel the appreciation that we share for their business and gather feedback for what is valuable to them.”

The event featured a vast assortment of free samples, raffles and other fun stuff which was sprinkled in as one browsed. The General’s Quarters was overwhelmingly crowded, as free food always captures the attention of the average college student. 

“Our suppliers are so important to the success of our dining service program. Vendor partners are the source of everything we need to deliver our very best to our customers. They are a key stakeholder and the lifeblood of the flow of product from farm, dairy, orchard, mill and processor to our campus customers at Muhlenberg College,” said Holz.

“Our suppliers are so important to the success of our dining service program! Vendor partners are the source of everything we need to deliver our very best to our customers.”

“I want a shopping cart,” exclaimed Marissa Steiner ‘22 as she walked through the event. The experience felt similar to being in a grocery store. Many students grabbed a plastic bag from GQ in order to stock up on all of the snacks.

While it was not widely advertised, it would have been impossible to miss the event. There were many different stands to explore. Both sweet and salty tastes could be satisfied. There was a cooler of ice cream at the doors of the Annex, and the vendor never failed to remind a student to take something before they left. Bags of chips were set up on a shelf display. One stand offered snack-size cheeses, leading to more than one student with bulging pockets full of cheese.

Businesses including AFC Sushi, Pepsi, Sysco, Frito Lay, Naturally Sweet, J Ambrogi, UNFI and Strategic Natural Sales and Jack & Jill Ice Cream displayed their products at the fair.

As one went from table to table, the vendors were more than willing to talk about what they were offering. Each individual table had flyers to check off the products that students liked. The surveys may lead to new and exciting choices in GQ in the future.

Holz added, “It was far overdue for us to introduce our trusted and loyal vendor partners to the campus community. With support from the Office of Seegers Union, we hoped that by hosting the Spring Vendor Fair, we could make that introduction and spotlight how much we rely on and appreciate our suppliers.”

Reactions to the fair seemed to be largely positive, with many students expressing excitement about the event.

Emma Schwartz ‘21 said “They should do the vendor fair more often. It was cool to get a bunch of free stuff.” 

Many students also expressed joyful feelings about the variety of options which addressed dietary restrictions.

“IT WAS SO FUN TO TRY SO MANY FOODS, AND THE MAJORITY OF THEM ACTUALLY HAD PROTEIN!”

 Alexa Singman ‘22 said  “I liked that they asked students for their opinions, especially having the survey at the end. Also, they had a good range of options for different dietary needs. It was nice that there were a lot of vegetarian/vegan options as well as a few gluten free things.”

Val Weisler ‘20 echoed the sentiment, saying, “It was so fun to try so many foods, and the majority of them actually had protein. I loved stocking up and really hope that some of them (especially the vegan chicken nuggets) appear in GQ.”

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