The Boston University Food Engineers (BUFE), founders of a popular Instagram account known for its innovative dining hall hacks, are turning their social media presence into a club.
The idea for the Instagram account arose when BUFE President E-Beth Leach and her friend were messing around with their food at brunch one day, Leach said. While the account didn’t pick up followers immediately, it eventually picked up a steady fanbase, all eager to see the next concoction put together by BUFE.
When expectations increased, BUFE rose to the occasion, Leach, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said.
“We decided to make it a club so more people could get involved,” Leach said, “because food brings people together, and we love to unite people through creativity.”
In terms of what will change as they transition from a social media presence to an official BU club, Leach promises the same creativity, paired with community service and volunteer work. Along with recipes, BUFE has added community service as one of its core tenets, she said.
“This semester, we’ve added community service as our next step so that we can collaborate with other people across campus.” Leach said. “We want to volunteer in the educational community and work with food banks, and we want to educate kids on the science of food.”
Some of the group’s goals are “to promote creativity and encourage students to think outside the box,” BUFE Secretary Angelina DiDomenica wrote in an email.
“Ultimately, I’d say, we want to unite the student body with what we all love: food,” DiDomenica wrote.
DiDomenica joined the BUFE team as soon as the opportunity arose, she wrote.
“… I immediately applied because I support E-beth so much and what the food engineers stand for.” DiDomenica wrote.
Becoming a club was the rational next step, both Leach and DiDomenica said, because they wanted to expand their network of Food Engineers.
“I love it when people meet other people through something like this,” Leach said. “I think going from Instagram to a club was extreme, but it made sense and so far it’s been worth it.”
The next year will be important for BUFE, DiDomenica wrote. So far, the group has submitted an official application for club status and is pending approval after the election of their E-board, or “cutting board.”
“We hope to gain recognition as a club and start to gain new members and new followers,” DiDomenica wrote. “We hope to hold many events throughout the year, teaming up with the dining hall and other student organizations.”
BUFE plans to host events in the dining halls throughout the year, DiDomenica wrote, including challenges and friendly competitions between students. The group will also continue to update their Instagram.
Recently, the club had an event alongside [email protected], where they constructed a meal in the BUild Lab. The final result? Rhett the Terrier ice cream cakes with Hershey’s Kisses as the ears.
BUFE can help ease the transition from home-cooked meals for students, Skylar Shumate, a sophomore in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, wrote in an email. Shumate found out about the club from running with Leach. She said it was not unusual for Leach to have food ideas mid-run.
“Eating most of your meals in the dining hall takes some getting used to …,” Shumate wrote. “Missing your favorite comfort foods from home? Check out their Mac n cheese recipe. Have a dietary restriction you don’t know how to work around? Several of their recipes are vegetarian or dairy-free. Sick of the same foods? BU food engineers shows how using the six or seven items on the menu you can make dozens of meals and snacks.”
Shumate wrote that her favorite thing about BUFE is the way the Instagram account, and now the group, brings students together.
“I think my favorite thing with BUFE has been watching it provide a platform for other students to share and experiment with one another dining hall hacks,” Shumate wrote. “BUFE features students on their instagram pretty regularly and that got me trying other studnets’ dishes and coming up with my own.”
The group’s mission this year is simple, Leach said.
“Our goal is to give back to the community because community service feeds the soul and creativity feeds the mind,” Leach said.