The Monmouth University Street Team, (MUST) celebrated “National Hot Chocolate Day,” by serving free hot chocolate to over 850 students and faculty members, outside the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC) on Thursday, Dec. 12.
MUST continued their vision to create situations that encourage people to think and talk about big, meaningful things, while promoting positive outlook on life. Every month, MUST decides on a “theme” for their event, and for the month of December, the theme was “celebrate”.
MUST President Ryan Murphy explained the process for choosing a theme each month by saying, “There are certain aspects of life that we would like to promote on campus, things that we think might be lacking in daily conversation… Along with the holidays we wanted to promote the idea of ‘celebration,’ in a different way than we normally do it in the holiday season.”
MUST were stationed in front of the RSSC passing out hot chocolate to students and faculty passing by who needed to warm up during the cold winter day. Those who did take advantage of the free hot chocolate were able to customize their drinks to their own liking by adding peppermint, marshmallows, caramel squares and whipped cream to their drinks.
MUST also handed out “Hot Chocolate To-Go” packs, which included a pack of instant hot chocolate and two marshmallows, for those who didn’t have the time to grab a cup, or who might have wanted to make hot chocolate later on in the day.
“Based on the amount of cups and to-go packs we gave away, there were about 850 students and faculty members who were involved in our event,” said Susan Bennett, advisor of MUST. Bennett continued, “In addition to supplying hot chocolate to our own students and faculty members, we also provided hot chocolate to two tour groups of perspective students, and that was really incredible.”
Each to-go packet and cup of hot chocolate had a sticker on it, with a question that related to MUST’s theme of celebration. Although the event was free, each student or faculty member that wanted a cup of hot chocolate, had to answer the question on his or her cup or packet. “The cups that we’re handing out have different meaningful questions like ‘What aspects of society should be more celebrated?’ or ‘What is something that you celebrated as a child, but don’t anymore?’ These are the ideas and things we want students to be discussing for the upcoming holiday season,” said Murphy.
Lisangi Fernandez, a senior, was asked, “What is one way we can celebrate more often?” She responded, “By just getting together.”
Though “National Hot Chocolate Day” was one of the coldest days of the winter thus far, it did not deter members of MUST from handing out free hot chocolate and encouraging conversation on campus. Michael Qualiano, member of MUST, said at first he didn’t know how to feel about the cold, but the substantial turnout had proved that the event was worthwhile.
Throughout the day, there were times where MUST ran out of hot chocolate, due to increased volume in-between classes. Shannen Wilson of the MUST club said, “I think that dealing with some shortages of hot chocolate and staying positive, is part of what our group is trying to promote on campus. Even if there are times where all we are doing is giving away our packets, we will still get our message across to the students.”
MUST took an unorthodox approach to advertise this event, by choosing not to advertise at all. While most groups on campus place an extensive importance of advertising through posters, word of mouth and social media, MUST has a very unique stance on advertising for events. “We didn’t advertise because it’s more fun if it’s a surprise. If you had to plan on being there, it wouldn’t be the same,” said Benett.
Looking forward to next month, MUST has already been brainstorming new themes and ideas for their next event when we return to campus after our break. According to Bennett, MUST will be trying to capture the ideas associated with setting new goals in 2014, and capitalizing on the new semester. Whatever the club does decide, it will be fun for the MUST and the students and faculty.
Michelle Grushko, member of MUST, summed up the event and dealing with the cold quite jubilantly by saying, “Whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, we’ll be together, whatever the weather, whether we like it our not.”