Snacks and sacks

Lucas Escalada

Campus dining is preparing for the second blackout football game of the year this week. A large number of students and non-student guests are expected to attend this weekend’s rivalry game, so the concession stand has to be equipped to deal with all the potential customers.

When the Ferris State Bulldogs visit Lubbers Stadium this week, the Grand Valley State University concessions team will get more customers than usual. According to Darius Leverette, campus dining concessions manager, the team is preparing for a larger-than-usual crowd.

When a big game is predicted, the concessions team orders more products than usual, Leverette said. The weeklong process is essentially the same as every other Laker game, but this time around, the scale is much larger.

“At Lubbers Stadium, we average 3,500 guests per game,” Leverette said. “Nearly 60 percent of the transactions are student spectators.”

GVSU’s campus dining team has worked with concessions since the 2004 season.

At any game, there is a student concessions team that works in the southern stand and in the visitor’s section, Leverette said. Campus dining also partners with non-profit groups to serve the Papa Domes and the north section concession stand.

Leverette and Deb Rambadt, campus dining marketing director, both said the preparation aspect of concessions is the most important part of the process. It usually takes about a week. Preparation is key to ensure the workers at the football games have enough to serve all the Lakers, Allendale locals and visiting team fans that are at the stadium.

Since GVSU has a large attendance record at Lubbers Stadium, a large amount of concessions are sold. However, that also means that a fair amount of waste is created. Rambadt and Leverette said campus dining has been working campus-wide to try and ensure that most of the products they serve do not harm the environment.

“We work with vendors to provide recyclable and compostable packaging whenever possible,” Leverette said.

Besides campus dining’s efforts to use safe packaging, the office of sustainability recruits students to help with waste during the games. A team of students sort through the waste on site so only actual waste is taken to a landfill.

On top of the office of sustainability’s efforts, campus dining has its own “green team” that works at football games to help sort through the waste.

There are a variety of costs associated with having and running a concession stand. Leverette said the number of stands, the amount of product needed and the labor needs all affect the overall cost. Game attendance can also impact the cost, and even weather can be an important factor.

With all the recent improvements to a variety of campus dining locations across campus, concessions could be up for some improvements in the near feature.

“There is a general, ongoing discussion,” Leverette said. “We’re always thinking of ways to improve things, but nothing formal is planned at this time.”

One of those improvements might be figuring out a way to increase the sales of its slowest selling items: cotton candy and caramel corn. On the other hand, the team could focus on its best sellers: pretzel sticks with cheese, pizza, hot dogs and hot chocolate.