Chili cook-off, bake sale planned March 11

ChiliIf you catch the scent of chili drifting around the commons area outside the Communications Lab around 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 11, you’re getting a whiff of the Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale, a fundraiser created by the Faculty Association Scholarship Committee.

Chili and hot dogs will be available beginning at 11 a.m. and will continue to be sold until the chili runs out, said Ann Raia, librarian and co-chair of the scholarship committee.

In addition, students and faculty will have the opportunity to bid on items from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  during a silent auction

Baked goods also will be available for purchase outside the Communications Lab.

Whether you like to purchase chili by the bowl or poured over a hot dog, you had better get in line early.

“Last time we didn’t even have a real end time because we just ran out,” Raia said.

Each year, various faculty members donate chili to this event as they attempt to wow the judges with their particular recipes. The identities of the chili chefs will remain anonymous as judges taste each recipe and select a winner.

“We have four faculty that we ask — we kind of try to get somebody from every division and spread it out a little,” Raia said.

Tricia Sweany, the other co-chair and also a librarian, said the competition is lively.

“It’s big within the faculty to see who’s going to win because they’re always trying to bump someone off the throne,” she said. “They go all-out for it.”

But this isn’t just a friendly competition — fundraisers like this have allowed the Faculty Association Scholarship Committee to give away more than $43,000 in student scholarships over the years.

“So we basically raise the money for the semester and turn around, and divvy it out to the candidates that we select for the scholarships,” Raia said.

Physics Professor Tad Thurston has a reputation of winning when it comes to the Chili Cook-Off.

“One year I went completely different and I made sort of a white chicken chili,” he said.

Thurston said he is definitely going to bring a pot of chili this year.

“Yeah, it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “And it’s cool because there’s no overhead so every penny that we take in goes right to the student scholarships.”

Donating a baked good is an easy way for students or faculty to participate in this year’s event.

“So students can bring them to our table and let us know they have baked goods for donations for the chili cook-off, and we’ll know what they mean, Sweany said in an email message. 

“If they do want to bring something, it’s usually best if it’s easily pulled apart or in containers they don’t want back.”

If you would like to volunteer to work a booth or have more questions about the Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale, contact Sweany at or Raia at

To contact Darla Kilhoffer, email

Leave comment