By Miguel Gonzalez
United by the common goal of feeding patrons of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, but divided in the spirit of friendly competition, 10 campus organizations participated in Student United Way’s fifth annual PB&J race on Thursday, April 5 in the Brower Student Center.
Students from Sigma Lambda Gamma, Delta Sigma Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Zeta, Zeta Tau Alpha, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Humanitarian Yoga Club, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Women in Business and Circle K made a total of 1,251 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the end of the night.
With a plethora of plastic bags and gloves, utensils, loaves of bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly at their disposal, teams dove into sandwich making with concentrated speed. Not a single table was clean as students splattered the spreadings onto the bread.
Nevertheless, teams did have to follow several rules.
Allison Vergano, a senior communication studies major and president of Student United Way, assigned student judges to make sure that teams were using one peanut butter jar and one jelly jar at a time. Teams could only reload supplies once the jars were empty, and any mispackaged sandwiches were put on notice, according to Vergano.
“We definitely made our judges aware of their responsibilities,” Vergano said. “We made them arrive a half hour before the event and explained them in detail of what they needed to do. We also added a box of shame so when you make a no-so-great sandwich, it goes in there.”
While most rounds focused on making the most sandwiches in a given time frame, the creative round proved to be the most challenging as teams assembled intricate sandwiches with three slices of white bread.
Members of Circle K carved a sandwich with a lion’s face on top and used peanut butter for its mane. Meanwhile, members of Women In Business illustrated a formally dressed businesswoman with oozing jelly for hair.
Stanley Zheng, a senior nursing and public health double major and a member of Circle K, loved working with other organizations to help donate to TASK.
“It was really fun,” Zheng said. “We got the opportunity to help those in need at TASK and collaborate with organizations that share Circle K’s message of philanthropy.”
Not to be outdone by their competitors, members of Sigma Sigma Sigma constructed a sailboat and fish roaming through the messy table cloth.
Delta Zeta, which was the only organization who had two teams at the event, created polar opposite designs. The first team depicted a day at the beach, complete with a palm tree, a person relaxing on a recliner, peanut butter acting as sand and jelly flowing as water. In contrast, the second team went with a winter theme, portraying an igloo with a complimentary snowman.
Other notable designs included members of Delta Sigma Pi sculpting a rose that represented their organization’s official flower and Zeta Tau Alpha creating a flower that symbolized the emergence of spring.
After two hours of running for supplies, scraping jars deep for every last dip of peanut butter or jelly and packaging spotless sandwiches, Delta Sigma Pi emerged as the victor followed by Sigma Lambda Gamma in second and Women in Business in third.
Caitlyn Vasquez, a senior psychology major and a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, was happy to continue her sorority’s contribution to the event.
“Our organization has done this for the past three years,” Vasquez said. “It’s really nice and it’s good to know it’s for the greater good. We had a lot of determination and competitiveness to win the race.”
In the end, Vergano was proud of Student United Way’s efforts to improve the event from past occasions.
“We looked back at last year’s (event) and reflected on what we could improve on,” Vergano said. “We wanted to amp up the race and make it a bigger, better impact for the community.”