Ripon’s Dining Service aims to “bring a new taste to everyone and make everyone happy.”
Students and faculty were welcomed to upper campus on Friday, Sept. 2 by the smell of roasting pork outside of Pickard Commons. Sage’s Executive chef at Ripon College, Kedren Hardee, as well as Christopher Taylor, assistant food service director, arrived on campus at 2 a.m. that day to prepare two pigs and a variety of other foods for the Porkpocalypse that took place during dinnertime on the lawn outside of the Commons.
Porkpocalypse was the first of many events planned and hosted by Sage at Ripon this academic year. To connect the Ripon community, Sage aims to use food to bring people together as the school moves into a post-pandemic state through events and other changes to the Ripon dining locations.
“Everybody was happy. We had faculty and staff both come. We heard nothing but great comments about it.” Hardee said.
The pork for this event came from Pinnacle Pastures, a local Ripon business, and the event was well attended.
Following Porkpocalypse was the first-annual corn roast, Cornapalooza, which featured locally sourced corn from Ott’s Farm on Saturday, Sept. 24 outside Pickard Commons.
Students can also look forward to a Candyland event in December and other smaller events.
Hardee and Taylor also noted that Sage has changed from previous years.
“Last year was very difficult with opening up stations. I think we had difficulties with hours as well for a little bit there. But now we’re fully staffed, fully opened. We have new products down at Wilmore like sandwiches, salads, cheese and grape cups, stuff like that. We have all the stations open at the Commons every day.” Hardee said.
The Spot also saw a revamped menu this fall, which is available to view on the Touch of Sage app and includes a feature to rate and comment on menu items.
“I’m always looking forward to hearing people’s feedback and remarks. I encourage people to go on there whether it’s good or bad. It’s better to see it so we can adapt and change to what the needs of the student are.” said Taylor, who makes sets the menu for The Spot.
Overall Sage’s changes aim to unite the campus community and create a better dining experience for students. The events and activities planned by Sage are something new to campus now that restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have lessened.
Hardee explained that the previous dining company employed by the school “was not a very welcoming and warming company,” and that when Sage took over “the goal was to bring that warmth to the students and faculty.”