Valley Cafe Adds Flavor to Tuesday

On Tuesdays, Marist College students are swapping their meal swipes into the Dining Hall for tickets into the Valley Cafe. With a different menu each week, the Valley Cafe provides students with a unique lunch and enjoyable atmosphere that keeps students returning.

“I go every week,” Caroline Friske ‘20 said. “Whenever I’m free on Tuesday, I’m here.”

Friske along with her friends, enjoy the fun variety of grilled cheese sandwiches at the cafe on Tuesday, April 23. “The grilled cheese creates a nostalgic feeling,” Friske said. “I always ate grilled cheese as a kid and it makes me very, very happy to get that feeling back.”

The theme this week at the Valley Cafe is “Grilled Cheese,” which is a yearly favorite according to student intern, Elie Christoforides ‘20. The menu includes Tomato Bisque Soup, Chicken Bacon Ranch Grilled Cheese, Brie and Pear Grilled Cheese and even a vegan grilled cheese.

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Furthermore, each week the Valley Cafe has a new theme that is chosen by student intern, Elie Christoforides. “I’m the Valley Cafe dude,” Christoforides said. He has been interning with Sodexo for three years and his role includes organizing and planning the Valley Cafe. Originally recruited to help Chef Anthony develop themes and menus each week, Christoforides is now the imagination behind the menu. “Dining services thought there was a creativity that was lacking and I was hired to be the second-hand man of Chef Anthony and give that boost of creativity,” Christoforides explained. After Chef Anthony resigned, Christoforides now decides the themes, which are either invented himself, suggestions from students or ideas pitched from clubs.

“We look at suggestions from students and we get a lot of requests from clubs,” Christoforides said. Students can either email or text Sodexo any suggestions, comments or criticisms about the Valley Cafe. Sodexo also collaborates with clubs frequently, including the Italian American Society, Fox Pride and Asian Alliance. “Whenever we get a club, I’ll make sure to talk to the leader and tell them how it works to create a menu. Sometimes they want me to make a menu and other times they’ll make their own,” Christoforides said.  

In addition to requests, Christoforides also tries to incorporate special occasions or holidays. “I think when we first started doing grilled cheese, it was National Grilled Cheese Day. It’s become an annual thing because it was so popular the first year.” If there is no specific holiday or partnership with a club, it is up to Christoforides to invent a theme. Last year, the cafe had a lunch titled, “Netflix and Grill.” The dishes were all inspired by movies or television shows such as “Ratatouille,” fruit salad from the “Wiggles” and the infamous spaghetti in “Elf.”

As a result of the interesting themes, the Valley Cafe provides students with a variety of dishes that they cannot eat elsewhere. “The Dining hall has its limitations and there’s a cap to what they do on the regular bases. Because the Valley Cafe is weekly, there’s more room for creativity,” Christoforides said.

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Moreover, the most challenging part of creating a theme is to avoid being redundant and also pleasing everyone, Christoforides explained. “It’s just one menu, so it’s going to be hard to attract everyone. There’s people that come weekly, sometimes they’re vegan or vegetarian and sometimes there are new people coming to eat for the first time,” Christoforides said. “It’s about making sure that throughout the year there is a balance between creativity and delivering the basics of a meal.”

The components of the each weekly menu include a soup, salad, three main dishes and at least one or two vegan options. Every dish is also distinctly labeled for students with allergies. Christoforides said about 50 percent of the ingredients are locally sourced within a 200 mile radius of Marist College, which supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint. “It is named the Valley Cafe because the food is coming from here in the Hudson Valley,” Christoforides said.  

Serving students fresh and fun lunches, the Valley Cafe invites all students to taste new cuisine they cannot eat anywhere else. Students like Friske truly enjoy their weekly routine of lunch at the Valley Cafe. Friske said, “I literally don’t take 11 o’clock classes, just so I can be here.”

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Fake IDs – Ticket to Social Life or Just a Ticket?

Marist College students are apprehensive to use their fake IDs after the bar raid in December, but are still continuing to frequent the Poughkeepsie bars. 

“Personally, 90% of my social life is going to the bar. It’s where majority of people go on the weekends,” Geoffrey Chun ‘21 said. On a Friday night, Chun would choose to go to Darby O’Gills instead of a house party. “House parties only cater to a certain demographic or group of friends,” Chun said.

For many students, the raid at Darby O’Gills has not had a substantial impact on their weekend plans. “The raid didn’t change the party scene at Marist,” Justin Olson ‘21 said.

“As an incoming freshman, you’re taught Marist is a bar school,” Jordan Mogel ‘21 said. “You’re pressured into getting a fake ID,” Mogel explained.

According to students, group orders are placed on websites such as IDgod, IDsolo, IDviking, IDbuddy and Fakeyourdrank. Prices range between $40 and $60 for two IDs. One student said, “The IDs are definitely coming from China.”

Currently Marist College is labeled as a “bar school.” However there are students who would like to see that change. Students hope to see the bar scene decrease with the substitution of more parties. “I wish there were more house parties,” Mogel said, “Students want more house parties, but there just aren’t any.”

Similarly, Jason Davis ‘21 would also like to hear of more parties on the weekend. Davis explained that although it is not a party school now, Marist College may become one if the bars continue to be raided.

Nonetheless, Devon Marinello ‘21 agrees the Poughkeepsie bars currently have a pivotal role in the social life at Marist College. “The bars are the social scene,” Marinello said. Although worried there may be another raid issued by the New York State Liquor Authorities, Marinello still frequents the Poughkeepsie bars.

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The New York State Liquor Authorities ticketed one hundred and fifteen Marist College students for possessing a false identification card in December. However individuals under 21 still make their way to the bars on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

An underage student stated, “I’m definitely concerned about the bars being raided again. I’m just trying to limit going out personally – reduce the time I spend at the bar to limit the chance of getting caught in a raid.” 

Another underage student said, “I would say I’m concerned, but it isn’t going to stop me from going to the bar.”

However, for the few students like Zac James ‘21 and Aidan Diver ‘21, the raid has had a significant impact on their weekend plans. James and Diver, former Darby O’Gills regulars, no longer go to the bar. “It’s not worth going,” James said.

Following the raid at Darby O’Gills in December, Diver said, “I just thought holy shit, thank God we weren’t there.”

Similarly, Mogel is concerned how any ticket would look on his record. Mogel said, “I’m never going out again. I’m trying to go to law school.”

Furthermore students using a fake ID do not believe it is the quality of the false identification card. Rather students feel the bar owners and bouncers turn a blind eye to make a larger profit. Olson said, “The bars are just trying to make money. They know everyone is underage.”

Twenty-two-year-old Sam Goldman ‘19, explains he often recognizes students under the age of 21 at the bars. He said, “The bars want capital and part of it may be underage kids are growing facial hair and there are some very mature-looking women, but the owners want to make as much money as they can.”

Currently, the bars remain at the center of the social scene at Marist College, even for students under the age of 21. For a night of fun and socializing, students are willing to run the risk of being ticketed.

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Darby O’Gills accepts Marist Money

New Club Hopes to End Stigmas About Sex

As students peruse the rows of club posters at the Activities Fair, they begin to notice a new club, STARR. All the officers of Students Advocating for Reproductive Rights as well as students, are excited to see the club finally sanctioned for the Spring 2019 Semester.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says president Kelsey Beresheim.

During her sophomore year at Marist, three seniors approached Beresheim with the idea of starting a club to bring awareness to sexual health. There was no particular club advocating for sexual education at the time and the students wanted a place to address the topic and bring awareness.

Beresheim explains they began with a series of “underground” events. During one event, students placed going-out survival kits outside dorms. These kits consisted of water, snacks and condoms.

Now a junior, Beresheim is delighted to see STARR become an official club. The first general members meeting is this semester, which is pretty exciting she says.

The mission of STARR is to create a safe community to address the issues of sexual health and reproductive rights on campus. The club wants to bring awareness about the importance of sexual health and eliminate any stigmas surrounding sex.

“I definitely think sexual health is an important issue because it really affects college students and students should have a place to talk about it,” says Beresheim, “We always hear about STDs being a problem on college campuses so we wanted to do something more.”

According to Washington and Lee University, one in four college students has an STD. The Center for Disease Control also stated Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease on college campuses. In 2017, 1.5 million cases of Chlamydia were reported and about two-thirds of those cases were among individuals 15-24 years of age.

With the alarming number of STDs on college campuses, STARR hopes to help students prevent the spread of more diseases. “Education is key,” says Beresheim. Knowing how to practice safe sex is incredibly important. Beresheim plans to bring guest speakers to the campus to discuss sexual health and reproductive rights. STARR wants to educate students about safe sex and provide them with resources such as free condoms.

Learning about safe sex is crucial for students but it can also address other issues. Beresheim explains, “Sexual health can also stem into relationships, such as domestic violence. Someone might not even know they’re in an abusive relationship.”

In addition to bringing awareness about sexual education, the club also hopes to break any stigmas about reproductive rights. “Unfortunately there are stigmas around sexual health but STARR can combat those,” says Beresheim.

Erin Connolly, the secretary of STARR, agrees the club will be able to clear misconceptions about sex by educating and bringing awareness to students. “Sex in general is a taboo subject,” Connolly says. “It is important to talk about sex. A lot of people downplay it, but it is really important.” She believes the club will be able to foster a community on the Marist College campus, opened to talking about sex.

As well as discussing and answering questions about sexual health, STARR hopes to provide students with a variety of resources. Connolly says the club will inform students about birth control options, including Planned Parenthood and its services. “The club is also for sexual well being,” Connolly explains, “We also want to remind people to get screened and stay healthy.”

For its first semester as a sanctioned club, STARR is hoping to organize a variety of events. Along with bringing in guest speakers, Beresheim wants to create more going-out survival kits, host a potential movie night and reach out into the community. The club has been in contact with the Vassar Chapter and hopes to collaborate with other colleges as well, such as Bard and the Culinary Institute.

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Students signing up for STARR at the Club Fair on Feb. 6. Free condoms were also available to take.