December 8, 2004: On the Campus
Good will, great sushi
By Ashley Johnson ’05
Challenges abound at toy stores during the holiday season. Shopping carts block the aisles like angry linebackers, prized toys teeter on the top shelf like a basketball waiting to tumble from the rim, and customers jockey for position like distance runners as they search for the fastest checkout lane. Who better to face the grueling hustle and bustle than a group of motivated, competitive (and agile) college athletes? For five years, under the direction of Ryan Bonfiglio ’01 and Charity Bonfiglio ’01, Princeton’s student-athletes have been putting their shopping skills to use for the benefit of local families in need through a Christmas service project called Teams and Toys.
The Bonfiglios, co-directors of Athletes in Action, an on-campus Christian organization that reaches out to athletes, work together with teams, linking them to Trenton-area families, to supply toys and basic necessities to their children on Christmas morning. What began with a few students donating a little time and their own money has spiraled into a campuswide effort that includes 34 varsity teams and five club teams raising money and purchasing gifts for more than 40 families, including more than 150 kids. The shopping efforts culminate with a gift-wrapping party before the toys are delivered.
With 1,000 students involved, Teams and Toys is the largest single-event service project on campus. “It’s exciting and encouraging to see it grow,” says Catie Draper, a senior volleyball player. “You can really feel it bring the University together for a positive cause.” In recent years, Frist Campus Center, the Office of Religious Life, the Projects Board, and the Undergraduate Student Government have teamed with AIA to provide food for the family care packages that now accompany the toys.
Student-athletes Amanda Erickson ’06 (softball) and Kim Nakamaru ’06 (women’s lightweight crew) head the effort to contact teams and advertise around campus. The great turnout last year spurred Erickson to take a leadership role this time around. “There’s a feeling of good will because of the great service we get to do for these families,” she says.
On the Teams and Toys fifth-year anniversary, the giving mood continues to spread. “It’s about getting the whole athletic community involved in reaching out to the rest of the campus and the greater surrounding community,” says Ryan Bonfiglio, who also serves as an assistant wrestling coach. “And it’s about Dean Fred [Hargadon] showing up with the coolest remote-control cars to donate, but only after he plays with them.”
Among last year’s interim findings of the University’s Task Force on Health and Well-Being was a message from the students: We want healthier dining options. In response, dining services has transformed the Beverage Lab, located on the first floor of the Frist Campus Center, into the Healthy Eating Lab to provide an alternative option to the grill on the lower level.
The Healthy Eating Lab offers sushi, spa salads, and brewed teas to offset the aroma of the cheeseburgers and pizza sizzling down below. Stu Orefice, director of dining services, called in veteran chef and cookbook author Cary Neff to design a satisfying meal plan packed with health-aware alternatives to the typical dining-hall fare. Neff also revamped well-liked items, drawing an appreciative review from Travis Muir ’05. “We’ve always had good sushi,” Muir says. “But now it tastes even better, and it’s still at student prices.”
Neff’s arrival as a temporary culinary consultant marks the beginning of the 11th year of Princeton’s healthy-eating efforts. As claims of the “freshman 15” pile up, the University has responded with expanded salad bars in the dining halls and low-calorie options in everything from main courses to salad dressings.
Orefice says the Healthy Eating Lab has a fairly loyal clientele that may be growing, now that the café’s schedule includes the peak dinner hours. Chef Neff’s time on campus, which included a healthy-cooking demonstration for students, faculty, and staff, also put the spotlight on the lab’s menu options. Neff’s advice to pound-wary students? “Be mindful of the approach you take toward food. Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth, but also make sure it has great flavor.”
Ashley Johnson ’05 is an English major from Florence, Ala.
ON THE CAMPUS ONLINE: Go to www.princeton. edu/paw to read “Kickline Continuum,” by David Baumgarten ’06.