Officers:Big Cookout How-To
This document explains how cookouts have been handled in the past. It is nice to update these documents with your good ideas, so that the next social chairperson will have an easy time of it.
This document covers big cookouts such as the Orientation Cookout and the End-of-year Cookout. For the regular summer cookouts, check out the small cookouts document.
Long before the cookout
Make sure that the cookout is not on a major holiday. This can be especially important for Jewish holidays, because a significant minority of students are Jewish. The same goes for Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu holidays. It is not nice to have a cookout during the day during Ramadan or on Yom Kippur.
Because CSEG orientation is scheduled in the Spring for the following Fall, you might want to consult with the CSEG Vice-President, who schedules orientation, and together eliminate any conflicts.
Two weeks before the cookout
Advertise the cookout by sending mail to cseg-social and csefac to make sure that you reach faculty members and interested students. Send mail out about 10 days before the cookout and then a couple of times in the three days before the cookout. Remember to include the location, time, and date of the cookout. Cookouts are usually held outside the EECS building. If it rains, you can have the cookout in the atrium and put the grills to the side of the EECS atrium entrance under the porch area. You want to imbue the date in everyone's consciousness far in advance, and then remind them close to the event.
Find volunteers by sending mail to cseg-social. Use guilt, threats, and bribes to convince people to volunteer. Announce that you will cancel the cookout if you do not get enough assistance. There will always be people who are first in line to eat for every cookout, but never volunteer to help. There will also be a core group of people who assist you every time. Here is a minimal list of helpers that you will need:
You may want to announce a special CSEG event for the cookout. I had pretty good success organizing a CSEG orientation kickball game. YMMV.
- One or two people to help you with the shopping
- Five or six people to help you set up
- Many many burger flippers
- I have scheduled burger flippers to work half-hour shifts. It seems to work quite well.
- Put five or six people on the first two shifts. That is when the demand is greatest.
- Put three people on later shifts
- Five or six people to help clean up.
Send email out to your helpers a few days before the cookout and on the day of the cookout so they know what their duties are. Send them the entire volunteer schedule, so that if they cannot work at their scheduled time, they can either change places with someone, or find another volunteer.
Make sure that folding tables are available by asking Brian Rice <firstname.lastname@example.org>. You'll need to pick up the tables from the CSE loading dock.
Get some garbage cans from the cleaning staff. You have to call the Custodial department at x4-0521. Ask for Charles ??? or Willie Horton. Or just ask for the cans, they will forward your call to the correct person. Linda Sen (x6-1470) is our area manager, and actually will be in charge of getting us the cans. You might want to talk to her directly. I've never tried it. Try to emphasize that you want giant garbage cans. We got tiny ones one time.
You should give at least one week's notice to these folks.
Make sure that the grills are available for the date of the cookout. CSEG has a large gas grill that it keeps in the outside storage room (underneath the staircase between CSE and Dow), but it is technically available for the department to use as well. For all but the largest cookouts, just using the gas grill will probably be sufficient. When needed, there are additional charcoal grills in the outside storage room.
The day of the cookout
Go shopping. Heck, you can even do this the night before. Do not buy alcoholic beverages to serve at the cookout. The cookouts are outdoors and it is against University policy and Ann Arbor laws to drink in a public place. Put the goodies in the GSI Lounge (2nd floor CSE). If you need more room to freeze ice, ask the department secretaries about 'temporary' storage in the 3rd and 4th floor refrigerators/freezers.
Have your set-up people meet you an hour before the cookout. If using charcoal grills, get them warmed up immediately. CSEG has a chimney that works great for starting the charcoal. Use a lot of charcoal, since the grills are going to burn for a couple of hours. For the gas grill, get the propane tank from the storage cage outside the CSE loading dock.
Other set-up people should start setting up tables and laying out food and supplies. When setting up the grills and tables, try to create efficient paths of food creation and consumption. Set up the grills a bit away from the food tables. You may want to set up the grills in the shade, so that the uncooked meat and the burger flippers stay cooler. People will either wait at the food tables for the cooked meat to be brought to them; or they will line up with open buns at the grills. You can satisfy their carnivorous needs either way.
Cooking should start at least 20 minutes before the official start time of the cookout. You want to have a large amount of food ready to supply the initial surge of hungry students.
CSEG has some recreational equipment in the cabinet in the GSI Lounge. This currently includes a kickball and some bases. If the day is nice, bring them out for a festive cookout. There is also a Gatorade cooler in the outside storage room (useful as an ice bucket).
Have your clean-up crew meet 15-30 minutes before the end of the cookout. Put out the fires and dump the ashes in the bushes. Pass out any perishable, unopened leftovers. Take the tasty snacks to your office for your office-mates. Save any non-perishables for the next cookout or happy hour. Any perishable food that isn't claimed should be thrown out. Don't feel guilty... it is not your fault people didn't show.
Alternatively, you can also take any perishable leftovers to Food Gatherers. Call them (761-2796 or 930-0550). They are on 1731 Dhu Varren Rd, which you can get to by taking Pontiac Trail north of Town. Dhu Varren is a dirt road. Turn east on Dhu Varren and go about a quarter mile. Food gatherers is on the north side of the road. You will see the big, painted carrots...
Send a thank-you note to your volunteers.
This is just a sample list. Of course, you should adjust this list based on the results of your previous cookout experiences.
- 180 Hamburgers (1.5 per person)
- 48 Hot Dogs
- 8 or 12 Veggie Burgers. They live in the freezer case of the health-food section of the grocery store.
- One package of Soy Boy Not Dogs.
Vegetables and Support Food
- 6 lbs of those little "baby carrots" that are actually adult carrots which have been carved and polished to look like baby carrots.
- A couple of packages of broccoli-wokkly pre-cut broccoli florets
- Maybe some celery sticks, too.
- Three or four of those little tubs of sour-cream based dip.
- 5 - 3lb tubs lbs potato salad / macaroni salad / cole slaw
- A watermelon is fun. Remember to bring a large knife to carve it.
- 15 large bags of Chips / Pretzels
- 5 large bags of M&Ms or other tasty candies
- hot dog rolls
- Hamburger rolls
- 4 bags ice
- 18 bottles of Pop
- 3 bottles of club soda
- 3 or 4 gallons of apple cider or fruit juice
- Paper Cups
- Paper Plates
- Paper Napkins
- Plastic Utensils
- Tin foil
- Tin-foil serving dishes
- If using charcoal...
- Lighter Fluid
Stuff that CSEG already has, but make sure that it is available
- Official CSEG Grill Utensils (in GSI Lounge cabinet)
- Coolers (in GSI Lounge or outside storage room)
- Recreational equipment (in GSI Lounge cabinet)
- Gas grill (in outside storage room)
- Charcoal grills (in outside storage room)
|Date||New Students||Food bought||Leftover||For next time|
|Fall 2010 (orientation)||~75||160 hot dogs, 180 hamburgers, 48 vegie patties, 5 large bags of chips, 144 12oz soda||~20 hot dots, 45 burgers, 1 bag chips||-burgers, +soda, -condiments, ++ice, +serving dishes, only use gas grill?|
|May 2011 (end-of-year) (lunch)||80 hot dogs, 75 hamburgers, 32 veggie patties, 4 bags of chips, 72 12oz soda, 24 .5 L water bottles, 2.5 lb. tomatoes, 1 giant onion, 3 heads romaine lettuce||5 burgers w/out buns, ~10 hot dogs||Make sure "hamburgers + veggie = buns", +soda, +ketchup, +(lettuce/tomato/onion), keep away undergrads|