As the staples of the college diet evolve from ramen and Lucky Charms to more artful creations, Spoon University is documenting the feeding frenzy.
Spoon University is an online food publication founded in 2012 by Mackenzie Barth and Sarah Adler, who were at that time juniors at Northwestern University. After the site kicked off just two years ago, Spoon has grown to include dozens of colleges in its network of food appreciation. Each branch’s individual website features health tips, cooking advice and other food topics to help students navigate the food options in their environment.
Duke is set to join Spoon University mid-October with its own branch spearheaded by sophomores Izzi Clark and Elle Wilson and seniors Jordana Rosenberg and Caroline Michelman.
“It’s really awesome to see the different voices that all the chapters have,” Barth said. “There’re a lot of cultural differences between different schools based on geographic location and size…. When you give students a platform to express themselves, you really get to hear the true voice of that campus.”
Wilson noted that she believes Spoon will benefit students across the Duke campus, including Central Campus inhabitants who haven’t touched their kitchens and students frustrated by the lack of food options brought on by construction at the Great Hall.
Spoon University also has the potential to open doors between students and members of the Durham community. In addition to publishing interviews with restaurant owners and reviews of Durham’s eateries, the organization hopes to host events sponsored by local restaurants.
“Duke is in a bubble,” Clark said.
She said she sees Spoon as an opportunity for students to step outside the campus’s barriers and explore avenues they have not yet experienced.
“There are so many good restaurants and local brands, but a lot of people go through their four years at Duke not really knowing what’s around,” Rosenberg said.
The national Spoon University program offers branch-starters guidance in website maintenance, in addition to connecting contributors to a wide audience base.
“We have a national platform so students are able to get their work seen not only by students at their school, but by people across the country, which makes it more meaningful,” Barth said.
Michelman found out about Spoon when talking to a student from another college during a study abroad trip. She said she loved how Spoon connected her interests in food and writing and began contributing to Spoon’s national website a year ago. She is excited to see more Duke students get involved when Spoon opens up a branch here.
“You by no means have to be a foodie to join. It really is for everyone, and it really will be an exciting new community on campus to be a part of,” Michelman said.
The website displays content all across the food spectrum, from healthy meals to chocolate chip cookies loaded with potato chips.
“Our big thing at Spoon is that important things happen over good food,” Wilson said. “We’re your friend that we want you to come to if you want to have a good meal or talk about a good meal.”