Four residents of Ladd House — Emily Campbell, Thomas Capone, Matt Dias Costa and Allison Silfen — began hatching their plan last year when they were first-year students and grateful for all the good food they ate day after day in the dining halls.
As part their application to be residents of a College House, they outlined their proposal: they wanted to let dining staff rest their feet and be treated to a home-cooked meal by students for once.
“The purpose of us wanting to live in a College House was to get more involved and make a difference in the Bowdoin community,” Campbell explained. “Why we wanted to host this event is because dining services brings more to our community than just great food; they bring great positive energy and are such a vital part of what makes Bowdoin such a happy and positive place.”
Capone added, “No one takes care of them like they take care of us.”
Initially, the four had the ambitious goal to cook a lavish Thanksgiving spread for dining employees. But because the chefs, bakers, meat cutters, operations assistants, dining aides, production assistants and other staff members are all quite busy around Thanksgiving, the students opted for a holiday dessert party to accommodate people’s schedules.
On a recent Friday afternoon, the friends — with help from their housemates — decorated Ladd House with lights and ornaments. They filled two shopping carts at the local Hannaford grocery store. Jack Hughes ’17 got to work in the kitchen making countless treats, from peppermint bark and chocolate-covered popcorn to truffles and cookies. The students served cheese, fruit and veggie platters, cider, coffee and hot chocolate.
They also collected thank you notes from students in the Smith Union. They assembled these in a colorful poster that is now hanging in Moulton Union. “Part of making a display [was so] our appreciation could be extended to more than just the people that attended our event, and also to serve as a constant reminder of our gratitude,” Campbell said.
For the party, they invited the Longfellows to provide live entertainment. During the a cappella song, “In the Still of the Night,” one Longfellow picked out Nina Thiboutot, a production assistant for dining, to twirl around with on the dance floor.
About 50 or so employees attended the event. “The students did a wonderful job,” Dining Director Mary Lou Kennedy said. “It was a beautiful array of food. People relaxed and lingered, and enjoyed being pampered.”
A sampling of student’s thank you notes