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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

13 Eats: First@Colgate Hosts Evening Event

Olivia Miller

“’Gate After Dark” marked the beginning of a week of activities held by the First@Colgate program, which is designed to support first-generation students and their families. Activities are scheduled leading up to National First-Generation Day on Nov. 8. Students gathered on Friday, Nov. 3 at the O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop) for a sandwich tasting and viewing of the musical drama “In the Heights.” The movie is an adaptation of the musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story takes place in Washington Heights, which is the dominantly Dominican American neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, New York City. 

The Coop Media Room was perfectly homey, with its large windows looking out towards the dusk-lit campus. Tables surrounded the television that was fixed to the far wall. Picnic blankets and bean bags lay scattered around the carpeted floor. At 8 p.m., Tabisha Raymond, assistant director of First@Colgate, invited students inside to browse the selection of food. 

‘Deli After Dark’ was conceived after a brainstorming session with Dean RaJhai Spencer, during which we explored various ways to support the Dean of the College Divisions’ ‘’Gate After Dark’ initiative,” Raymond said. “While brainstorming, we expressed our desire to screen a movie that would illuminate the experiences of first-generation students, and that’s when we came across ‘In the Heights.’ This discovery led us to set the tone of the evening as a corner store deli in Washington Heights. From there, we brought the vision to life.”

The event was catered by Morrisville Gourmet, a deli on East Main Street in Morrisville, N.Y. Lining the tables was a feast of deli specialties. Students had their pick of five different sandwich options: Chopped Cheese, Oven Gold Turkey Sub, Chicken Philly, “Hungry Man” breakfast burrito and Falafel. These subs ranged from timeless classics to mosaics of flavor, and just about all of them were popular.

The Turkey Sub was a reliable favorite. Simple but not dry, the basic ingredients are famously compatible. Morrisville Gourmet passed its first test: deliver on the classics. This sub allows for each of its ingredients to shine, and the deli certainly proved that it has mastered airy bread, tasty cold cuts and cherry-on-top cheese. 

The Chicken Philly was a more adventurous choice. This sub featured marinated chicken, onions, peppers, American cheese and mayonnaise. The ingredients worked quite well together but made for a bit of a mess. Far from dry, the sandwich was almost soaked in juice and mayo. However uninviting it seemed, the sandwich still managed to achieve bold, saturated flavors. 

The Chopped Cheese was perhaps the most daring option on the menu. Famous in New York City, this unique dish involves chopping hamburger meat with a spatula as it griddles, then melting the meat with cheese. Served with mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce and tomato, this sandwich is difficult to get right but stellar once perfected. This was the true test of Morrisville Gourmet’s menu, and they aced it. The Chopped Cheese was an explosion of flavor and a smash hit. 

For most students, the highlight of the night was escaping the flavor confines of Colgate’s limited food options. First-year Grace Zhang reflected on the opportunity to expand her palette. 

“My sandwich was decent,” Zhang said. “It was definitely a nice switch-up from normal dining hall sandwiches. I got the Chopped Cheese. It was pretty good. You could definitely taste the hamburger. It was my first time having chopped cheese, too, so it was a very eye-opening experience — a positive one. It was decent. I enjoyed it.”

More than the food, though, First@Colgate curated an inviting environment that made students of all backgrounds feel comfortable. Soft chatter filled the room all night and new friendships blossomed. “In the Heights” was the perfect movie pick; this sentimental story was hopeful and inspiring, but the screenwriting and acting themselves were bad enough to warrant jokes and laughter. 

First-year Martyn Dahl noted that the atmosphere complemented the dining experience nicely.

“My sandwich was very good,” Dahl said. “There was lots of variety, and I had fun trying a whole new menu. It was a really cozy space with good vibes. It was nice to try some different food than the dining hall.”

The event was a part of First@Colgate’s mission to build a community among first-generation students. At Colgate, there are over 300 students pursuing their degrees who are the first in their family to attend college. First@Colgate is a support and information resource that has helped to raise the first-generation graduation rate to 92 percent. 

First@Colgate is a program that ensures first-generation students have the necessary resources, experiences and support to help them thrive at Colgate and beyond,” Raymond said. “Our programming focuses on providing academic, professional and personal development opportunities for students to grow, connect and create community. However, we are not limited to providing experiences exclusively for first-generation students. We also support our QuestBridge and OUS Scholars many of whom also identify as first-generation. The majority of the programming opportunities we offer on campus are open to any student who would like to participate whether that be for their own development or in support of first-generation peers,” Raymond said.

See other events by First@Colgate on their Instagram page, @firstatcolgate.

First@Colgate operates year-round, so there is programming available all the time,” Raymond said. “These opportunities range from study sessions, to game nights, to workshops and information sessions. With our opt-in model, students have the flexibility to engage with our program in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.”

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