Field of Science

Ice Cream 101

Can any university claim to be a distinguished, quality institution of higher learning if they do not have decent ice cream in their student center/union?  Clearly an absurd question to which the answer is equally clear; no. A few universities of the ag/tech sort have dairy science departments where students in ice cream (DS 101) plus advanced studies where less common flavors as well as frozen chunks are explored, sell the products of this academic endeavor with excellent results.  OK they may not have 29 flavors, but often the ice cream is of top quality.  But even here apparently there are no advance courses in gelato, and one wonders why?  Maybe the romance language programs have fallen on hard times, especially with the aggie crowd, but this is hardly an excuse to ignore their culture's best products.  Come on people, frozen yogurt vs. gelato; it isn't even a contest.  Our university is one that cares so little for the academic enterprise, its reputation, and sugar-induced creativity that there isn't even soft serve [ice cream] frozen custard, maybe a brand like IQ.  A frozen yogurt place tried to make a go of it, and it failed for lack of business, based upon TPP's analysis, the result of a combination of high price and low quality ("it tastes ALMOST like ice cream" (my emphasis)].  So this is now the mantra for the anti-ice cream crowd, ice cream is not fiscally viable, but fiscal sacrifices are considered OK if they benefit sports, but student union space is sooo valuable, they've priced ice cream out of this market. The snack shop does have Blue Bunny ice cream bars, but they are hardly the thing to capture your imagination or interest; no theses from these for certain. So far the higher administration and the trustees seem to lack interest in this issue, which makes you wonder about their priorities. Now when polled independently, the students seem quite uniformly in favor of ice cream on campus and not just in some stupid "ice cream zone". Of course at a few very elite schools you can get espresso milkshakes made with real coffee thus taking care of two metabolic needs in one delicious dose. Perhaps if it were presented as a state educational mandate, ice cream would be forthcoming on campus, but only after an assistant provost and a committee of faculty studied the issue for a year and issued a working paper on ice cream policy to be discussed at open forums. Cups vs. cones, how many flavors, Sunday or sundae, plastic vs. real spoons, and so on.  It's the way things are done.   

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