From book signings to academic lectures, events held at campus stores are a common occurrence at many colleges and universities. Today, however, Barnes & Noble College is taking the campus store event to a whole new level through its partnership with Togather, giving students the opportunity to create “dream classes” that speak directly to their interests and goals.
Togather is a powerful social platform that engages student groups and campus departments, and connects them with a wide range of authors and subject matter experts. To determine the topics of interest for these “dream class” events, Togather engaged students at 70 colleges, asking them to offer ideas and to vote on their favorites. Twenty-six schools were then chosen based on the number of votes for each topic idea, which ranged from “profitable passion projects” to “advanced late-night cuisine” and more.
At Adelphi University, students used their social media voice and voted for a class on “no-bake late-night munchies.” Those votes were rewarded with a workshop that promised to help amp up their dorm room snacks and offered the opportunity to vote for the workshop’s presenter. Adelphi students chose Cristina Krumsick, author of the blog and now book, No Bake Makery: More Than 80 Two-Bite Treats Made with Lovin’, Not an Oven. A journalist major and publicist for food celebrities such as Rachael Ray, Krumsick began working with food in her small Brooklyn apartment, creating bite-sized, no-bake treats that she tested on her husband.
Students crowded the Adelphi University Bookstore where Krumsick led a hands-on demonstration of how to create one of her favorite recipes: maple pecan bites, a concoction of vanilla sandwich cookies, pecans, cream cheese and maple syrup. Krumsick told the students that her recipes, which include ingredients such as fruity pebbles, marshmallows and pretzels, require only a food processor and a refrigerator to make, so they are perfect for creating on campus. “The students were really excited that they were able to choose the topic and pick something that applied to their lives,” said Adelphi University Bookstore Manager Will Giler. “It was fun to see how the workshop played out and to see that they really enjoyed the experience.”
With this fun and engaging workshop, Adelphi’s campus bookstore was transformed from a shopping destination to an exciting test-kitchen, where students were able to try out treats, spend time with their peers and gain valuable advice from their chosen expert. It was a highly tailored experience that highlights the value of creating spaces where students can learn and share ideas. “Bookstores have historically been places for people to gather and share new ideas, so it makes sense to have these programs available at campus stores,” said Andrew Kessler, CEO of Togather. “We were able to use digital tools to find out what resonates with students, and then take that directly to them, allowing them to create a real-word experience that provides meaningful connections with their peers.”
As the partnership continues, Togather and Barnes & Noble College plan to expand programs to more schools in the future. These custom events help the campus store become more than simply a place to buy a textbook or a cup of coffee. It’s a place to meet other students who share similar interests, master a new skill and enjoy a targeted, unique experiences. “This is a fantastic idea for college students,” said store manager Giler. “It’s giving them a voice in what they want on campus and connects them to really fun events.” As Adelphi University students recently learned, having a say in campus events doesn’t just feel good—it can taste good, too.