The Commuter Student Association hosted its first cookout on April 14. The event featured free food and attracted over 500 students.  PHOTO CREDIT: STONY BROOK COMMUTER STUDENT ASSOCIATION

The Commuter Student Association hosted its first cookout in collaboration with the Graduate Student Organization on Friday, April 14 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on the Staller Steps.

As warm spring weather finally arrived, CSA wanted to host an event for students to relax outdoors on a Friday and destress with some tasty food, according to CSA Street Team members Danielle Sockin, a sophomore AMS major, and William Braxton, a freshman computer science major. The CSA Street Team is a volunteer committee that is in charge of creating and running events.

An estimated 550 students attended the cookout, according to James Vassallo, senior biology and sociology major and president of CSA. Chef Romel Velasquez, who works at the Student Activities Center dining hall, made hot dogs, veggie burgers and hamburgers for guests to enjoy, and Campus Dining also provided ice cream.

Once the food was available at 12:30 p.m., students rushed to get in line for the array of food.

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“CSA is normally a street team that holds a lot of events. It was a very street-team based idea that fit the budget,” Sockin said. “It was going to be in the spring so it had the Staller Steps kind of feel.”

Staller Steps was the main location CSA wanted to use, according to Sockin. Its central location and atmosphere encouraged many students to attend.

“We’ve collaborated with GSO on a couple of events throughout the year,” Braxton said. “Increasing the attendance in graduate students and food was very important.”

This was the first time the cookout took place and it left a crowd of Stony Brook students satisfied.

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“I was meeting up here with my Foreign and Native Speakers (F.A.N.S.) club at Staller and accidentally found food. It was a nice surprise,” Alice Hong, a junior political science major, said. “It’s actually pretty cool because the weather is super nice and everyone gets the chance to hang out. Staller Steps is a great spot.”

Many students including Hong saw or heard that the event was taking place and decided to check it out.

“It’s a nice day. I heard the music and knew something was happening outside,” Jessica Tran, a freshman environmental design major, said. “I saw there’s games and free food going on.”

CSA and GSO used different mediums such as flyers and Facebook posts to promote the event to both undergraduate and graduate students.

“People are sort of just sitting and enjoying themselves on this nice day,” Braxton said.

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The cook-out had a positive turnout and students can expect to enjoy the same event next year.

“It was even more successful than we anticipated, so it’s more than likely,” Vassallo said.

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