The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

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 Machine Brings Holiday Spirit to Willow Path

Colgate University / The 13 Machine

Interrupting the dreary hike to the Case-Geyer Library this finals season is a relatively new asset to Colgate University’s campus: the 13 Machine. The truck beckons passersby with its color-changing lights and bright red, cheery coloring. Even more enticing than its exterior is its function: it serves free hot chocolate and cider to anyone interested. As finals approach, it’s an irresistible temptation to those locked in the library in preparation for their big exams.

Brought on by the ingenuity of the Colgate Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the truck is meant to serve as an outlet for student needs. As of late, this has manifested as food. The vehicle has been in attendance at many school events, offering tasty eats like bubble tea during Homecoming Weekend and cider and donuts during Family Weekend.

This week, the maroon vehicle was parked alongside Case-Geyer Library during evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The timing was important, explained senior Marissa Realmuto.

“It’s a nice, warm drink for when it gets dark at 4 p.m.,” Realmuto said.

The warm offerings of the 13 Machine can help reverse the lack of motivation brought on by the early darkness of daylight savings.

Junior Aidan Guller also pointed out that the time is convenient, as everyone is heading down the hill for the day.

“It’s nice that it’s open right when you’re done with classes,” Guller said.

Additionally, its catchy name and Colgate colors make it a symbol for school spirit and positivity. 

“I like the design on the truck. It’s very festive,” Realmuto said.

This is the perfect atmosphere to inspire holiday cheer and bring together the campus community, a sentiment that Colgate University President Brian W. Casey echoed.

“With finals approaching, anything that brings people together and makes them happy seems most worth it,” Casey said.

Students can bond while in this brief intermission from work, and momentarily forget the stress that normally accompanies this time of year. It’s a much needed safe haven. 

Casey also pointed to the necessity for something uplifting during the current global climate.

“After a long semester in which students were wrestling with a number of difficult international events, […] having some hot chocolate and cider near Willow Path might offer some comfort and joy, no matter how inadequate such a gesture might seem given the global context in which we are operating,” Casey said.

The free aspect of the truck also helps to contribute to the positive atmosphere, and was something that the campus was definitely missing. Upperclassmen lacking meal plans are often deterred by the daunting prices of Chobani at Hieber Café: a hot chocolate goes for $3, and other menu options even more. This can add up quickly with other college expenses. Senior Elisabeth Hartke appreciates the option for a festive — and free — treat at the end of the day.

“It’s great for upperclassmen who don’t have meal plans and live down the hill to have a pick-me-up at the end of the day without using dining dollars,” Hartke said.

Thus, it provides a financially guilt-free option that is a welcome happiness boost to students.

Although free, the quality of the drinks is not lacking. The free aspect does not come at a cost to the beverage’s taste.

“It’s rich and sweet,” Guller said. “The cocoa flavor reminds me of the holidays.”

Instead, where the truck seems to be lacking is in advertising, according to senior Ayanna Dukes.

“I didn’t know they had a truck here,” Dukes said. “They should advertise it more.”

Currently, the 13 Machine is promoting their services via email outreach to the student body. They have also created an Instagram account (@the13machine) that documents the vehicle’s locations and food offered. This week, their Instagram lured in visitors with a picture of the truck accompanied with the promising caption, “Celebrate the season with hot chocolate, cider, and a stroll down Willow Path.” Hopefully, the account will garner more of a following as word spreads about the mobile eatery.

The power of a warm beverage is not to be underestimated, especially during the holiday season.

“It’s a pick-me-up during the most stressful time of the year,” Hartke said.

Time will tell what the 13 Machine will have to offer in the coming semester.

“I would be interested to see what they have for the summer, [like] if they have lemonade,” Realmuto said.

In the meantime, this festive four-wheeler was a positive addition to campus this week.

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