Spoon University brings original food journalism to Rutgers
Spoon University is dedicated to being the “food resource for our generation, on a mission to make food make sense.”
The organization originally began at Northwestern University and then spread to other universities. Currently, the group's headquarters resides in New York City. Universities all over the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have their own campus chapters run by dedicated student “foodies.”
The Rutgers chapter of Spoon University began as an unofficial on-campus group of students who were interested in sharing, exploring and writing about food in the community.
Spoon Rutgers became an official organization and started receiving funding for events last fall.
Spoon University articles are sometimes noticed by and featured on websites like Yahoo or Buzzfeed. That’s how Aapta Kanaiya Paresh, a Rutgers graduate student, discovered the organization.
“I actually found one of Spoon’s articles on Buzzfeed and I just wanted to know what it was about because it had an interesting name, that’s how I found out they were actually operational on so many campuses including Rutgers,” Paresh said.
Every chapter has the same mission, to be to create awareness on campus and build a community around food and health.
“We want to elevate student’s experience when it comes to food, journalism, anything created to a career in food and build a strong community around food on campus,” Paresh said.
Spoon Rutgers operates independently. Members have a monthly check-in with headquarters but are able to work independently — at the end of the month, they report their goals and what kind of events they want to host.
Spoon University also provides the students with writing resources and their pitches are submitted and approved before being published.
Paresh said the Spoon University gives them the freedom to decide what direction they want to take their content.
“We definitely want to inform students about the food scene on campus, whether it's dining hall hacks or a new restaurant,” she said.
Spoon Rutgers recently published an article about Tacoria, and their site features a guide to eating around campus. Eventually, the organization would like to partner with restaurants for promotions and events.
“If you’re on the team you do get a lot more free food," Paresh said.
Spoon Rutgers was recently invited to Due Mari for a 10-course tasting, along with other food bloggers in New Jersey. They also attended the Honeygrow soft opening.
They also run the Spoon_Rutgers Instagram account. Spoon University provides the chapter with resources to make pictures of food look more aesthetically pleasing, but the photographs and the articles written by the organization are mostly a product of the interest of members.
“Our whole idea is to share the experiences so everyone can see what's going on around campus,” Paresh said.
Many members are interested in pursuing careers in food and journalism after graduation. Paresh said she would love to do marketing for a food company. Other members are interested in food journalism and past members have gone on to secure jobs in the industry.
The organization has online meetings and meets in person once per month. Their final event of the semester will take place Thursday, May 27 from 12 to 3 p.m. "Spoonfest: Around The World with Spoon University" will feature free food from around the world for students to taste and will include vegetarian and vegan options. Spoonfest will take place at the Livingston Student Center.
“It's definitely a stepping stone that you could use,” Paresh said.
Gabriela Amaral is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @sentientfog