Dining hall hosts celebratory event

Rotapalooza, one of the biggest events The Food Court at Reber-Thomas has put on this semester, was held April 25 in honor of the spring semester coming to an end for students. The experience started at the doors; the lights were dimmed, and the entire dining hall was covered with streamers, decorations and stations for students to enjoy a night
to remember.

“We always hold a big event to celebrate the end of the academic year within The Food Court at Reber-Thomas, but this one was extra-special since it will be the last event we hold in the current dining hall building,” Shelby Burton, Sodexo marketing manager, said. “This event is meant to be fun for all who attend, with a special menu.” 

“The three-hour celebration allowed students all over campus to experience a ‘state fair’ kind of feeling,” student Melody Wimberley said. Wimberley attended with her two friends, and they enjoyed getting their faces painted. They were blown away by the dedication it took to pull off such an interactive and fun way to end the semester. 

The meal stations were renamed as if they were food trucks. The names included Coastal Cajun, Taco Loco, The Doggie Bar, Flying Pie and Spoon Burgers for the Allergen-Friendly Zone. The desserts were especially popular, and students were able to get cinnamon rolls, peanut butter cups, birthday cake and strawberry shortcake — all in cups designed to provide the environment of a music festival. 

Students had the chance to purchase The Food Court at Reber-Thomas and Rotapalooza merchandise at the front of the dining hall, including tie-dyed shirts with colors of red and blue for school spirit. The event also featured live music, caricature artists, balloon animals and face painting to keep
students entertained.

“Everyone that attended appeared to be having a blast (including our team), and I was blown away by the response to our custom T-shirts that some students waited in line over an hour for,” Burton said. “Overall, I think that students enjoyed the event and that we gave the best send-off to our beloved dining hall that we could’ve ever asked for.” 

Across from the merchandise tables was a wall set up to allow students to take a walk down memory lane and see how much The Food Court at Reber-Thomas has changed from 1992 to 2023. With the new dining facility to open soon, students have been embracing their final moments in The Food Court at Reber-Thomas, as Rotapalooza was one of the few events left to be hosted in the building.

Events like Rotapalooza allow students and the staff of the dining hall to come together and celebrate the year they’ve all gone through together. The Food Court at Reber-Thomas isn’t just a place on campus, but a staple to Liberty University and its students. It has seen its fair share of emergency door openings with cheers from all around, speed dating, early morning risers, last minute diners and students grabbing a quick snack or studying between meals
and classes.

Ellison is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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