As I walk in to attend the Bronco Family Table, I have no idea what to expect. The idea of sitting with a bunch of strangers, I admit, isn’t very pleasing to me. I usually cringe at the idea of going to an event where I have to socialize with people I don’t know, let alone share a meal with them. Gasp! But I want to check it out to see what it’s all about.
As I make my way into SouthFork Market, two women at the door greet me. “Welcome to Bronco Family Table.” She scans my Bronco card and tells me to take a seat wherever I’d like.
Bronco Family Table is a free family-style dinner designed to promote a sense of community on campus. Students can relax, laugh, enjoy good food, and form friendships.
I sit next to a group of women, Kylee, Caroline, Vi, and Beccera, who most tell me that they attend this event regularly. I tell them I keep hearing about it, and want to see it for myself. They smile at me and tell me I’m in for a treat.
The hosts pass around conversation starter ideas for our table and the conversations are… real. No small talk. We bounce around from topic to topic. From classes, to homework, and even relationships.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I am enjoying myself. Living away from home and having a busy schedule with work and classes, I end up eating alone most of the time and it’s usually microwavable. It is comforting to know there are other people at the table I can connect with. “It’s nice to have people to talk to over dinner, I feel like I’m part of a family,” says Kylee.
Not to mention the food is delicious. As someone who enjoys good food, I’m impressed with the quality. “The food is just exceptional, always delicious, and I don’t have to make the food,” says Carolina, a weekly attendee. They serve us crisp fresh fruit, grilled salmon with sides of rice, biscuits and an assortment of roasted veggies. They even give us brownies and cookies for dessert. “It’s free food, so I don’t know why more people don’t come,” adds Beccera.
In hindsight, coming to an event like this is nowhere near as weird as I thought it would be. I’m genuinely having a good time, enjoying the atmosphere, the people, and the food. “We really like the food, it is a nice experience, definitely recommend people trying it out,” says Vi, another first-time goer. I couldn’t agree more with her.
As the dinner winds down and people are saying their goodbyes, I think about the saying, ”nothing ventured, nothing gained,” I decide I am definitely coming back to have a seat at the Bronco Family Table.