Food for thought


Megan Shandel

Little Debbie is now available to purchase at Robert Morris University.

Maura Linehan, Arts and Entertainment Manager

“Food for thought.” As students, this simple turn of phrase often leads to self-reflection upon something just learned in a search for deeper meaning. At a more fundamental level, it reminds them that food provides the energy needed to ponder the mysteries of the universe.

Not surprisingly, food is a crucial part of every student’s college experience. Meals are able to provide a much needed break from the daily stress of school work every student encounters. For most, meals satisfy cravings, provide comfort, and nourish them for more studying.

With the addition of Little Debbie snack cakes on their own branded display in Romo’s this school year, RMU students have a new option when they need a quick snack, something to satisfy their sweet tooth or just a comfortable reminder of home.

According to the company’s website, the Little Debbie brand began in 1960 when the McKee family bakery needed a name for their new Oatmeal Cream Pie family pack. At the time, Debbie was just four years old and the granddaughter of the company’s founder, which made it an natural choice. In fact, the company is still privately owned and family run.

According to Sharon Silk, assistant director of business operations at Robert Morris, the company approached the school about adding Little Debbie snacks as another food option for students. While there have been some minor changes to the products offered, she finds that the reaction has been positive.

“Many students have commented that they like the snacks,” Silk said. “We have adjusted the types of Little Debbie’s we are selling based on student requests and suggestions.”

Providing students plenty of choice in the foods that are available to them is an important task on campus. Fortunately, Little Debbie products are an addition to the existing selections, which still include fresh options such as salads and fruits. Silk made it clear that the changes are a result of what they hear from students — either directly or through the dining committee.

“The RMU Dining Committee, which meets on the first Wednesday of each month, is integral in the way (we) seek student input as well as emailed suggestions to [email protected],” Silk said. “We encourage all students to reach out to us with their suggestions, so that we can continue to bring them the best in dining experience.”

Part of the campus dining experience is now the famous Oatmeal Cream Pie, which remains one of Little Debbie’s overall best sellers. In RMU’s case, it just took over 50 years to become a featured brand.