Peering in between the double doors of Friends Hall, four freshmen students listen for the chatter of the event inside. They’re 45 minutes early, and anxiously check their phones for the time.
“We came early to get all the food,” jokes Rachel Azulay, freshman.
On Friday, Sept. 21, the event they eagerly wait for is Taste of Mahwah, an occasion where some of the best restaurants near the college offer a free meal to Ramapo students.
With places like Nicky’s, Jung Lung, Cars, Nonna’s and Lotito’s only a short car ride away, everyone from freshmen to seniors flock to any event with a free sampling of food from the surrounding area.
“We’re freshmen, so we can find out what’s good around here. The email said to expect a line, so come early,” said Emily Marshall.
Before long, a line forms from Friends Hall to Roadrunner Central. Enthusiastic conversation begins to build amongst the crowd as they get louder and louder in anticipation for the event to start.
For many people, this is a chance to introduce themselves to Ramapo College and all the merits it has to offer.This is the case for freshman Kayla Strych. “I’m not from around here. I’m just here to hang out and get food,” she said.
A Taste of Mahwah is just as much a social experience as it is an informative event. Though some have never been to any of the local restaurants, they’re soon filled in by the stories of students closer to home.
“I’ve had the sushi at Jung Lung, and it was so good,” Azulay tells her friends.
The doors open and the students flood in. First, the College Programming Board hands each student a ticket and calls out three ticket numbers.The lucky three are told that they skip the line to the food. Playful jeers boom from the crowd.
Friends Hall is filled with round tables covered in pastel tablecloths. The student volunteers call out tablecloth colors to come up and receive their three-course meals.
The entree is composed of mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, pizza and guacamole with chips, and the next course includes Cars sandwiches. Finally, the volunteers hand out dessert, fried brownies with fruit and cookies.
“Every year, we keep getting more people. We’re here for them so they have a good time,” said Britney Miller, a freshman on the College Programming Board.
Every table is full, and some people even sit on the stage to get a seat. The enthusiasm is high as people laugh, talk and even run to the food when it’s their turn to eat. Some students are here to find food that they know they will enjoy.
“I grew up in Mahwah, so I’ve had a taste of these. It’s pretty good,” said Domenica Larocco, senior.
Whatever their reasons, Ramapo students come to the Taste of Mahwah to enjoy themselves. Judging by the turnout and excitement, the College Programming Board can call their event a success.