Food-and-Wine Event Raises Money for scholarships
October 28, 2011 By Rebecca Lauck Cleary
… Fourth annual Square Toast set for Nov. 3
OXFORD, Miss. – Southern hospitality takes over the historic Oxford Square the evening of Nov. 3 with a food-and-wine fundraiser hosted by the University of Mississippi Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management.
Scheduled for 5-9 p.m., the fourth annual Square Toast for Scholarships raises funds for scholarships for students in the UM Hospitality Management Program, and features tastings at 29 restaurant and retail venues throughout downtown Oxford. The tables at each location will feature wine, cocktails or beer. Other restaurants, including Taylor Grocery Catering, BIN 612 and Dickie Brennan’s restaurants of New Orleans, are participating by partnering with retailers on the Square.
Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door, and include a wine glass. A silent auction, which ends at 8 p.m., includes hotel stays, jewelry, a tanning package, concert tickets, a Southern Foodways Alliance cookbook and more. To date, more than $38,000 has been raised, and two students have received scholarships. This year’s goal is to raise $35,000.
The inaugural event in 2008 was the brainchild of Jim Taylor, assistant professor of hospitality management; Candis Varnell, an NHM instructor and faculty sponsor; and several students. In 2010, more than 300 people attended.
The event has expanded so much that students receive class credit for their planning efforts.
“What was once a seven-person independent study course through NHM has now been folded into the Event Management Course with 31 total students this semester,” said Jeremy Roberts, event coordinator. “They are divided among five groups to work on the logistics, planning and total event preparation/follow-through.”
The best part about this event is the students gaining real-world event-planning experience while having fun, Roberts said.
“They are working with the venues on the Square, the rental companies, marketing the event, selling tickets, obtaining items for the silent auction, and will be working the day and night of,” he said. “This is a truly hands-on experience for the students that will help them in their future careers as event planners.”
One of the students involved in planning efforts is Ashley Farrell, a hospitality management major from Memphis.
“Our class has been broken into different departments and have worked together as a team to hopefully have an event that runs smoothly,” Farrell said. “This experience has allowed me to meet several business owners in Oxford and make relationships that will most likely help me in the future. This event is exciting and a much different fund raising experience than usual.”
The night of the event, the registration area will be on the south lawn of the Lafayette County Courthouse. Tickets are available for purchase at Lenoir Hall on Sorority Row and online athttp://www.olemiss.edu/squaretoast. Follow Square Toast on Twitter @SquareToastUM.