Food writing group Spoon University gains momentum
And as of this fall, there’s a Spoon chapter right here at UNC.
Spoon University is a national online publication dedicated to food writing. The site branched out to college campuses across the United States with chapters at various schools, and when junior Sara Tane came across the publication’s Instagram, she realized it had not yet come to UNC. She decided to change that.
“It seemed like something right up my alley, so I decided to do it,” she said.
Tane reached out to Spoon University to start a chapter in Chapel Hill, applied for one of the four leadership positions and was chosen as editor.
It then became her job to read through the rest of the applications to create the team at Spoon UNC.
Tane, a global studies and interdisciplinary food studies double major, said the reason Spoon University appealed to her was because the site has a national platform.
“Students from all across the country can see our articles and we can see theirs,” she said.
Sophomore Lucy Banny writes articles for Spoon UNC and said she has enjoyed starting from scratch. Although Spoon University already has an established website and article format, the writers and editors at Spoon UNC are free to choose the stories they want to research, write and publish.
“There’s a lot of freedom,” Banny said. “We’re encouraged to be really creative and the editors are really accepting of different ideas.”
Banny said she was particularly interested in writing for Spoon UNC because its content isn’t limited to recipes.
“I can write about food trends, weird food news or fun topics that my friends and I might talk about at lunch,” she said.
But starting a new publication on campus has not been without some setbacks.
The group hasn’t been able to register as a student organization through the Student Union because Spoon University funnels money back into the college and university chapters — but no one on the team receives payment.
“Everyone in the chapter is doing it for experience, for exposure, for fun,” Tane said. “No one is getting money.”
Without the monetary support of the University, it becomes more of an effort for team members to spread the word about Spoon UNC and its work.
Junior economics major Julian Cowell is the marketing director for Spoon UNC. He said social media helped him get the magazine’s name out to students.
“I would say since it’s a college campus, appealing to your friends works the most,” Cowell said. “And as the Facebook and Twitter pages get bigger, it helps promote itself.”
In the future, Spoon UNC’s team hopes to continue gaining readers, to collaborate with local business and restaurants and, of course, keep people excited about food.
“At the end of the day, that’s kind of what it’s about,” said Cowell.
“(I want it to be) something you read, you enjoy and makes your day a little better.”
Tane said that if she gave any advice to other organizations about starting a new student organization on campus, she would say they simply have to believe in it.
“As long as it’s something you enjoy and think other students would benefit from and enjoy, it’s relevant,” she said.
“The great thing about a university is that you’re able to do that.”