One organization has found a unique way to serve the campus community over the past three years: serving hot dogs during the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities on campus.
Cru is a worldwide Christian organization that has a 100-member-strong chapter on Capital’s campus. For the last three years, serving hot dogs during Cap Crawl, Capital’s ode to St. Patrick’s Day, has been their “thing.”
“If someone’s wearing a Cru t-shirt, we are known as the ‘hot dog people,’” said Isaac Anderson, a senior criminology major and military science minor.
Anderson also serves as Cru’s outreach coordinator, community building coordinator, and men’s ministry team leader. He has been working on this project since it started three years ago.
He said the idea to serve hot dogs came two years ago during Cru’s annual spring break outreach trip to Florida. They felt encouraged to bring a similar, “very practical” kind of outreach back to campus during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
“We really just wanted to have a practical way that we could care for the campus in a way that shows that we love them and don’t view ourselves as better than them or anything like that … we are students just like they are,” Anderson said.
The goal of the project isn’t to gain more members or preach to students, Anderson said.
“We’re not trying to get more members or anything like that, this is just one of our ways of … showing that we love the campus and that we care,” Anderson said. “We specifically tell [Cru members] ‘don’t hand out tracks, don’t have stickers on the hot dogs.’ This is simply just loving, and that’s it.”
Cru “started off small” the first year with 12 volunteers, 800 hot dogs, 12 cases of water and hot cocoa. Within 45 minutes, all 800 hot dogs were gone.
Although Cru members are known for bringing hot dogs to students, Anderson said Cru planned to hand out the food at their house the first year. He said they started delivering the hot dogs as a way to “meet students where they’re at.”
“We had a bunch of boxes from the buns, so we just put about 80 hot dogs in there and sent out a few teams to see how the students would react to it, and they loved it,” Anderson said.
Last year Cru came prepared with three times as many hot dogs as the previous year along with five gallons of ketchup, two gallons of mustard, and eight gallons of barbeque sauce. They were still out of food within four hours.
Along with changes in the amount of food they offer over the years, Cru has also developed a full-on order and delivery service through social media. Students can message Cru’s Facebook page to request hot dogs at certain houses, and a Cru volunteer will deliver them.
“This year we have someone solely dedicated to sitting down and managing the Facebook page to let students know that hot dogs are on the way,” Anderson said.
Cru decided to “expand a little bit” this year by adding hamburgers and bacon to their arsenal to “fill students up a little more.” The organizations spent $1,100 on hot dogs, hamburgers, and bacon for this year’s event, and had 35 Cru volunteers at-the-ready.
They also changed the way they cooked the food this year. In the past, Anderson said they’ve boiled the hot dogs, but this year they set up a grill on the soccer fields to cook the hot dogs, hamburgers, and bacon.
Anderson said Capital’s Cru has not received any pushback from Cru organizations on other campuses or even from university administration.
“We’ve actually gotten to opposite of push back; we’ve gotten ‘thank you’s,’” Anderson said.
Anderson said Cru works with Public Safety to facilitate parking and other logistics for the day.
Due to the nature of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, some might think it’s odd to see a Christian organization taking on this kind of role. Although Anderson said it’s a way for Cru members to engage in “basic conversation” with their peers that isn’t about Christianity.
“Is it awkward? Yeah, absolutely … but it’s something that we as Christians need to get over because that’s part of our goal: to be uncomfortable so that other people can be drawn to the beauty of Christ,” Anderson said.