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How-To Have A Successful COVID-Safe Semester With Your Spoon Chapter

Now that the “new normality” has turned into Zoom and Slack, a virtual environment, I knew from the start that things were going to be different with Spoon as well.  Not meeting up to go to restaurants, or getting that adrenaline rush when running to a Spoon meeting in the rain, and the lack of the whole in-person component calls for some serious adjustment. That being said, Spoon Northeastern’s first ever virtual semester did turn out to be the one with the most members, the most articles published and generally speaking, the most success.  Simply follow these tips on How-To Have A Successful COVID-Safe Semester With Your Spoon Chapter!

1. Get Articles Published! 

Spoon University IS an online publication after all.  This semester, Spoon Northeastern Members were required to submit at least 2 pitches, and publish 1 article per month.  Check out the plethora of topics published this semester here.  I also created an “Article Topic Of The Week”, and would link recent articles published by members in the Linktree (also helpful to create one).  Start publishing and getting those amazing ideas out! 

Special Tip: If you do NOT like to write, partner up with someone who does! Having small teams of editors with photographers and/or marketers is a way to connect members. 

2. Reach Out To Local Businesses

As #SupportLocalBusinesses started trending during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many ways you, as a Spoon member, can support them.  

Firstly, start by reaching out to chefs, restaurants and other individuals in the food industry to invite them to a Zoom Panel in order for your chapter to learn more about what they do in the food industry.  

Additionally, for the benefit of the businesses and individuals themselves, interview them for articles, re-share their social media posts, write a positive Google review and personally encourage your friends and family to buy from them are a few ways you can support them too.

This semester, Spoon Northeastern reached out to Ann Marie from Posh Pretzels, Sabrina from Discover Vegans, and Chef Nick Peters Bond for Zoom Q&A Panels.  These turned out to be super fun, interactive, and informative sessions for all three individuals, as well as for the Spoon Members!  

Special Tip: You don’t have to look far, you may know a big foodie in your social circles- maybe it’s a family friend, an ex-boyfriend, a colleague, whoever!

3. Show Up To Meetings!

Zoom Fatigue is real, and one’s attention span on Zoom is obviously much shorter than while being surrounded by friends and (free) food in person.  My chapter was a lot stricter on attendance this semester.  Although excused absences are understandable, there are other ways to show commitment to Spoon as well, such as submitting pitches, writing articles and showing up to events outside of meetings.  Also, turn on that Zoom Camera, it’s really not fun talking to a grey screen.

Special Tip: Get an E-Board Member to host Zoom Sessions for those with excused absences, who cannot make Spoon Meetings for any valid reason. 

Jenny Tungsubutra

4. Host Zoom Workshops!

With Pandemic food trends involving Banana Bread, Dalgona Coffee, and other TikTok recipes, college students surely have been baking and cooking a lot.  Do you have a special tutorial that you want to show the rest of the club?  Spoon Northeastern partnered up with mixologist Leah Tringale to host a Fall Mocktail Workshop (dorm friendly, of course!) where the talented mixologist walked members through the step-by-step process of making a drink while sharing with us her experience in the food & beverage industry.

Special Tip: Aisle Minefounded by Kiana Estevez is a resource all college students should take advantage of. They aim to connect the local community with chefs in a fun and interactive way.

5. Find Instagram Brands That Deliver!

Have you noticed how the number of Instagram Businesses has increased dramatically since March 2020?  There are many talented entrepreneurs who deliver state-wide and/or nationwide.  I planned two ‘Surprise Box’ events with the Sweet Li’s– on Halloween & Christmas, where baker, owner and entrepreneur Lianna LaBella curated customized boxes for both holiday occasions with tons of glitter, candy, chocolate, cards and her very own DELICIOUS baked goods.  Spoon Members were able to enjoy these from the comfort of their own homes! Check out photos of the boxes below. 

Special Tips- Some brands I’d DEFINITELY recommend for US-Wide Shipping, especially knowing their sweet & talented owners: Sweet Li’sPosh PretzelsNosh NYC CandyCabot’s CandyPopilicious Popcorn.Also, Massachusetts Folks, for state-wide shipping, check out Lush Up Charcuterie & Sweets Bakery Billerica. All amazing brands to order from. 

6. Reach Out To Other Spoon Chapters! 

With meetings being virtual, there’s no need to fly halfway across the country to participate in another chapter’s Spoon Meeting.  If you happen to follow other foodies on Instagram who also happen to be part of Spoon (@spooncommunity is a great place to start finding who they are!) they’re in the same boat as you with all this virtual stuff.  You’ll be surprised at how much stuff you guys have in common just through Spoon! 

Special Tip- Attend Lexie Kuikman’s (from Spoon HQ) monthly meetings with other Spoon Members!  I attended all of them and found them super productive.

Jenny Tungsubutra

7. Look Around You

What are your favorite restaurants & brands in your own home town and/or college town?  Perhaps you never knew much about the smaller, hidden gems, so look into exploring those more.  For me, not having been in Boston (where I go to school) for over a year now, I looked into smaller restaurants as opposed to the ones that everyone (literally) goes to for the gram.  This made me both surprised and delighted to find some of the most delicious looking menus and Instagram feeds right around my college campus.  If you go to school in Boston, seriously, check out Haley House and Soleil to begin with, they are AWESOME.

Special Tip: Start by searching for the Local Black-Owned Businesses in your area.

8. Stay Connected! 

Take advantage of your (Virtual) Club Fairs, Conferences, Coffee Chats, and other events you see.  Things may in fact be more convenient now, with students not have to trek through a snow storm to get to campus and only being a few steps away from their desk.  These opportunities are (literally) at your fingertips.

Special Tip: Stay connected with your fellow Spoon Members as well! Get over that awkward Zoom barrier, and talk to them outside of Spoon too!

9. Share YOUR Personal Food Experiences!

Whether it’s eating your favorite childhood meal cooked by mom or visiting that little coffee shop in your neighborhood, Spoon’s Community is for you to share your personal experiences.  Tag your chapter on an Instagram Post/Story and share photos and recipes in the Slack channel, you may make a new friend through your love for a certain special type of food.  After all, food is a way to bring people together.

Special Tip: Post a Spoon Article for the world to hear about it! 

10. HAVE FUN!

Clubs, sororities, classes, social lives, part-time jobs, and other responsibilities stacked on top of one another in the life of a college student means that in general, being busy is quite the norm.  However, Spoon should NOT be seen as another item to tick off on your to-do list, but rather something you do for fun and to get your mind off school, the pandemic, and the other madness going on in the world.  Spoon to me was the first club I joined in college and one I will stay in until the very end. It is where I met some of my closest friends, discovered some of my favorite restaurants, and shared my love for food with an equally passionate community. 

Special Tip:  You can seriously learn so much about food from Spoon Articles. The Spoon University Website is a great place to start, and of course, just read among your own Spoon Members’ articles.  

Jenny Tungsubutra

Although I feel accomplished being able to hold a successful virtual Spoon Semester from home, absolutely nothing would be better than to be surrounded by other passionate foodies.  It has been over a year now, and I cannot contain my excitement to be back in my Spoon comfort zone.  Being away from Boston for over a year made me miss far too many food-related things in the city, check out some of them here.

Check out some of my other foodie experiences abroad, in ThailandAustria and Spain.

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