University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

UVM German and Russian Global Village Houses Host Fund-Raising Event to Help Orphanage in Kirov, Russia

cook off
Students pack in to the Living/Learning Center's Fireplace Lounge to partake in the German and Russian feast. (Photo: Carin Hoffman)

The following report was submitted by Professor Kevin McKenna of the German and Russian Department. 

Two of the “houses” in the Living/Learning Center’s Global Village challenged one another to a friendly yet competitive cook-off in an effort to raise money for an orphanage in Kirov, Russia. Commonly referred to as the Epic Food Battle of 2012, the “food fight” took place in the Fireplace Lounge of the Living and Learning Center Nov. 7 (ironically, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution). The German House’s Stephanie Forristall, an exchange student from the University of Augsburg, and the Russian House’s Kristen Rousse organized a widely attended culinary evening along with fellow students from their respective residential learning houses. 

Nine members of the German House (Bruce Barger, Tracy Guion, Samuel Janidlo, Kara Pratt, Patrick Ryan, CharlieDan Sheffy, Erin Skelly, Allie Sullivan, and Stephanie) as well as an equal number of Russian majors from the Russian House (Veronica Rock, Nicolas Chlebak, Dalina Ceku, Tatiana Rumsey, John Mauran, Corey Pariseau, Rubin Goldberg, Jake Pelland, and Kristen) organized themselves into small “kollektivs” for purposes of preparing a wide array of national dishes for the event.

With the help of faculty director Professor Dennis Mahoney, German House students prepared käsespätzle (cheese noodle casserole), two kinds of apfelkuchen (apple cake), sauerbraten (pot roast), kartoffelpuffer (potato pancake), schwarzwälder (Black Forest cake) brownies and apple twists. They also served apple sauce for the potato pancakes and some rather tasty non-alcoholic drinks.

As faculty director of the Russian House, I made my contribution to the evening’s “cook-off” by staying out of the kitchen; but under Kristen Rousse’s direction Russian House students prepared a delicious array of борщ/borscht, пельменные/pel’mennye (fried dumplings), блины/bliny, шарлотта с яблоками/ sharlotta s yablokami (apple cake), салад столичный/salad stolichnyi and, of course, Russian печения/pecheniya (cookies). 

Katie Boynton, former UVM Russian House student director and, now, UVM grad (class of 2012), was the guiding force for this event in suggesting that the Russian and German Houses work together in raising much-needed funds for a cash-strapped orphanage in Kirov, Russia. Since graduation Boynton has been working for a non-profit organization, Bright Connections, in the Philadelphia area, where she assists in fund-raising efforts for Russian orphanages to repair buildings, provide toys for the kids, and provide other basic services.

While the Germans once again went down in defeat to the Russians in this food-fight, a total of more than $330 was raised in contributions to the Kirov Orphanage: a most worthy undertaking with no victims or casualties to report! Judging by the unusually healthy (and hungry) turnout of UVM students for the event (approximately 90-100 in number), the evening was a “большой успех” and no one awakened “wurst” for the experience the following morning. Delighted by the turnout and even more so by the money raised, Professor Mahoney (the founding faculty director of Global Village in 2006-08) was most of all impressed by the enthusiasm and cooperation displayed by the students in both houses: an example of Residential Learning at its best!

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