Dining Services Spreads Kindness with Joyful Week

Throughout the week of Feb. 13, Colgate Dining Services sponsored a series of events to promote kindness and joy inside and outside of the Colgate community. According to Chartwells, these events were part of the “Joy-Ful campaign” spearheaded by Chartwells Higher Education, Colgate’s food services partner. The newest addition to this campaign is called “Delight-ful”, a nationwide event promoting random acts of kindness. All Chartwells schools participated, but Colgate opted to extend it to a five-day series of events. 

Delight-ful Week was coordinated by Colgate Dining Services’ new marketing manager, Tiffany Simmons. Simmons shares how she strove to set the bar high with this event as a display of the value she seeks to bring to the Colgate community during her time here. 

“Chartwells, the company that runs dining on campus, hosts this Joyful event every year and most schools only do one or maybe two days of giveaways on their campus, so being my first big event here I wanted to make sure that students, staff, and Chartwells as a whole knew the bar I was setting and what to expect in years to come.” 

Simmons saw great turnouts for each event, which primarily consisted of tabling in Frank Dining Hal and The Coop (O’Connor Campus Center) for pop-up events. The week started off with Simmons in the Coop for lunch, where she advertised a kindness raffle; a pledge to do something kind earned an entry for a photo printer. The event was a success, with over one-hundred pledges received. The day continued with a tabling session at dinner in Frank Dining Hall which provided students with the opportunity to write cards for a children’s hospital. 

Students spread joy on Valentine’s Day during lunch in Frank Dining Hall with a flower giveaway. They chose a flower, wrote a note and gave them to a person that has brought positivity into their life. The activity proved to be popular with students, as the flowers were gone in minutes. The event was made even sweeter with chocolate covered strawberries and other assorted Valentine’s Day themed desserts. At Thursday’s dinner tabling session in Frank, Simmons was joined by campus dietician, Allison Bowers, for a self-care giveaway and information on treating one’s body with kindness. 

All of these pop-up events have received an enthusiastic response from students. Promoting positivity amongst students was a salient goal of this week, as stated by Simmons. 

“I think it was an important series of events to host because as we all know, seasonal depression is very much real- I suffer from it myself. Seasonal depression, the stress of a new semester, and everything else going on in each student’s life can start to build up, so bringing even a small piece of joy into their day was the most important thing to us here at dining services.” 

These events uplifted both students and Simmons, who describes what the student body’s reaction means to her. 

“It really does warm your heart to see not only the same students coming and saying hello each day, but the students who maybe were a little nervous to see what we had going on at the beginning of the week get fully involved by the end. I can’t even begin to guess how many times I heard ‘wow, you just made my day…’ that’s what it’s all about, making the students know they are seen, heard, and cared about.”

The week concluded on Friday with a finale concert in Donovan’s Pub featuring Utica-based entertainer and rapper Leeky XIV (Malik Johnson) and rapper, producer, and engineer Zak G, who grew up in the area of Syracuse, New York. 

Zak G and one of his primary DJs, King Ransom, visited Colgate on Wednesday to promote the concert. Zak G seeks to inspire people, particularly his target audience of college students, with his music. In line with the message of the broader Joy-ful Campaign, Zak G aims to promote joy through his music, but also focuses on empowerment, as he further explains. 

“I just hope to inspire people to go after their dreams and to believe in themselves…[enjoy] yourself. If you have this thing in your gut…and you have this little feeling like I don’t know if I can, I want to be the catalyst.” 

The local performers brought a lot of energy to the stage, and their positivity was contagious. They brought an exciting end to a joy-filled week. Additionally, the connection between Colgate students and the surrounding community facilitated by Delight-ful Week was appreciated by students. First-year Eleanor Meunier says,

“It’s cool that they’re supporting local artists and connecting us to our larger community through the concert and the cards to the children’s hospital. It’s nice to know that the school is thinking of ways to keep things exciting and new for the students.”

These events would not have been possible without the hard work of Tiffany Simmons and the rest of Colgate Dining Services, who do their best every day to give a voice and show their care for the students of Colgate.