There’s nothing better than the taste of a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven or a fresh cupcake that melts in your mouth. With the holidays right around the corner, more and more students and faculty are thinking of baking as a fun pastime to share with family and friends.
And to capitalize on that, Alexandra Johnstone, a freshman communication major, came up with the idea of rounding up students to start a baking club on campus.
“I’m very into baking and it would be so great if students here were into it as much as me,” she said.
As a freshman still adjusting to the campus life, she approached professor Robert Wuagneux, hoping he could advise her on how to start such a club. He immediately thought of pairing her with Bryanna Allen-Rickstad, a senior journalism major and avid baker.
“I’m purely an advisory person. I hope Bryanna will run with it,” Wuagneux said. “People can relate to her and she has a huge passion for baking.”
Allen-Rickstad’s love of baking goes back as far as she can remember, but working at a bakery in Middlebury has helped her expand her talent and enjoyment. From cashier to “baker-in-training,” she has gotten to see the ins and outs of baking. She laughs that it’s her fall back if journalism doesn’t work out.
Castleton Dean of Campus Life Victoria Angis said she likes the idea of the club and is interested to see where it goes. She advises those interested to first make it an official club to get resources and then figure everything else out from there, including the idea of a bake-off competition.
Allen-Rickstad, Johnstone and Wuagneux thought it would be a good idea to raise money through sales of baked goods from the baking club or a bake-off competition. They thought of donating the money raised to the Castleton Food Pantry. Wuagneux added that, especially with the holidays just around the corner, many families don’t have much and this would be a great and fun way to give back to our community.
Sodexo General Manager Jeff Kurto said he is totally on board to sponsor and help out, whether it is by providing ingredients and resources or by lending space for the competition. He even offered potentially lending the participants the baking equipment in Huden Dining Hall.
“I will help and support the students however I can, as long as they do the planning, I can provide resources,” he said.
Kurto also added that he will be at the meeting that Rickstad, Johnstone and Wuagneux are planning for Nov. 20 during N-Period. They hope people will get as pumped about these ideas as they are.
“The club would produce a good product while having fun, what a tradeoff,” Wuagneux said.