candy bowl in student affairs office

Candy Bowl Confessions

You know me, but I’ve never formally introduced myself: I’m the Candy Bowl from the SESP student affairs office.

It’s crazy to think I’ve been a part of SESP for over two decades. Thanks to Mark Hoffman, who I hear is now associ­ate director for SESP’s Higher Education Administration and Policy program, for bringing me into the mix. He saw the stu­dent affairs office as a community hub where students loved to hang out, but it was missing something sweet.

That’s where I came in. Mark nabbed my first edition from World Market, and I’ve been with SESP ever since.

First and foremost, I’m a provider. I’ll never gobble the candy myself. Sure, it’s tempting, but you need self-discipline to be a pro candy bowl. You think it’s easy sitting with all that delicious candy in you 24/7? I know weaker candy bowls who can’t control themselves. “Oh, I’ll just have one M&M for myself,” they say. Next thing you know, they’re upside-down in a candy coma.

Being a part of SESP is the ultimate fly-on-the-wall gig. I spend my days hanging out with students, hearing them talk, laugh, and learn. Whether they’re talking about their practicums or petitioning classes or discussing the many ways they give back, I feel so lucky to be in such a great community.

I always know when I’m about to be refilled: when there’s only Jolly Ranchers left. I hear you all talking about my Jolly Ranchers. Someone called them, “the garbage candy of all garbage candies.” I’ll be honest, that stuck with me. (The Ranchers themselves also stuck to me — they’re pretty sticky.) It is ironic a candy named “Jolly” doesn't bring you all the same happiness that my Snickers and Milky Ways do.

I’ve always felt so appreciated. I’ve been referenced in so many commencement speeches—what an honor! How many bowls can say that? Frankly, I feel like I’m the most beloved bowl aside from the Super Bowl--and if we’re being honest, I’ve seen the Super Bowl — it’s not even a bowl, it’s a trophy… 

It’s a joy when students—and the faculty frequent fliers—pop in and grab a handful of candy on their way to or from classes. I feel like I’m handing off water to mara­thon runners—giving a small help, a little respite—as I cheer you all on.

I wish I could say it’s all been perfect, but there was one fateful “incident” when I was accidentally dropped and broken. I remember it so clearly: panic throughout the office, Now and Laters strewn across the floor. It was mayhem. Fortunately, I bounced back. I rose from the candy-coated chaos, fully restored and ready to serve some Nerds (the candy, that is, not you all).

As for who dropped me, I’ll never spill those jelly beans.

I like to think I’m just a piece of what makes SESP such a special place. I get a lot of credit, but it’s also the intimate community, warmth, and welcoming nature of our school. We’re our own special island in the Northwestern community—which is even sweeter than my candy itself.

If I could make one request, it would be to make your future alumni donations to specifically expand my candy budget—I’d love for that to hit eight or nine figures. Hey, a bowl can dream.