Colgate University recently mailed their students at home vacuum-sealed slices of pizza. Yes, you read that correctly: Vacuum-sealed packages of food shipped across the country. The stunt was done in an effort to give students who aren’t on or near the campus for the semester a familiar taste of campus life.
This puzzling action evoked so many emotions in me. I was confused, curious and definitely a little grossed out. I asked myself, “What could the University of Maryland send students at home to give them a taste or reminder of College Park?”
1. An Old Bay bomb
Have you ever heard of a glitter bomb? If not, a glitter bomb is something you can send to any person you want. It’s an envelope full of glitter and when you open it, glitter pours out everywhere. So, let’s apply that to this university. What is more quintessential to Maryland than Old Bay seasoning? Imagine: you’re sitting at home and you just logged off Zoom for your intro to biology class and your parent knocks on the door. “You got a letter in the mail,” they say. It’s from the University of Maryland, the school you attend and covet so highly. You open the envelope only to have Old Bay seasoning explode everywhere. What could better give you a taste of your school?
2. A live crab
If an Old Bay bomb doesn’t float your boat, then hear me out again. Besides Old Bay, Maryland is known for its crabs. What better sign of appreciation than a living animal? Now, you may be asking yourself, “How is the school going to transport a living animal, let alone an animal that requires an aquatic environment, across the country?” To that I say: I don’t know. I’m not a marine biologist, I’m just trying to brainstorm fun ideas.
3. Day-old Marathon fries
Nothing caps a night out in College Park better than a box full of Marathon fries. The local delicacy is comparable to ambrosia when consumed at 2:30 a.m. But, what tastes better than hot fries with an indescribable sauce? Cold soggy fries to cure a hangover! There isn’t a better way to remind students of nights filled with being turned away from frat parties, police officers confiscating your fake ID and vodka sodas from your favorite bar — filled with alcohol that is one degree away from being legal lighter fluid. This student-favorite food will certainly give those at-home students a taste of College Park.
4. A construction hat and vest
Nothing screams College Park more than being woken up on a Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to the sounds of bulldozers, metal clanging and jackhammers. The constant campuswide construction contributes to the quintessential ambiance of College Park. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t trade a signature construction wake-up call for the calm birds that chirp early in quiet, suburban neighborhoods. To remind students of all the noise and marked-off zones, let them pretend they’re in the action of building the new Cole Field House or Purple Line or sidewalk that was literally fine before and for some reason needs to be fixed. You could even give them a hammer and a piece of sheet metal to help produce some white noise for them and their family.
5. A glass of water from the McKeldin Fountain
One of the biggest concerns from the Colgate incident was if the pizza was safe to eat. The university stated it was safe for students to consume, but it’s unclear if any have. I asked myself, “What substance seems safe but could potentially be incredibly dangerous to consume that would remind students of College Park?” The fountain on McKeldin Mall is a ceremonious location on campus. It’s a place to sit and gossip, do work or lay down at 1 a.m. after going on a depression walk. Can students drink it? Maybe? They shouldn’t — but they can. Students could pour the cup in their bathtub to pretend they’re swimming in the fountain. The possibilities are as endless as the variety of bacterial infections you could get by consuming the water.
Ultimately, I think Colgate’s gesture was just a misguided stunt that’s great to poke fun at. Hopefully by fall 2021, all college students who are stuck at home can return to campus and partake in all the local delicacies their school has to offer, free from vacuum sealed packaging.