Lettuce Club heads toward community

Illustration by Megan Rowe

Illustration by Megan Rowe

On Tuesday Nov. 13, 2018, students and Duluth community members will have the opportunity to go head-to-head in a lettuce eating competition hosted by UMD’s Lettuce Club. Whoever eats an entire head of lettuce the fastest will become the new head of Lettuce Club until the next competition in the spring of 2019.

“We are trying to give the best experience possible,” current Head of Lettuce Andrew Weisz said.

The competition will take place at Kirby Rafters starting at 5 p.m. with a two dollar buy-in and a one dollar buy-in if the participants bring their own lettuce. The first place winner, also known as the future Head of Lettuce, will not be the only one taking home a prize, according to Weisz.

Andrew Weisz (left), second place winner of last year’s Lettuce Club eating competition, and Kofi Austin (right), winner of last year’s competition, on April 27, 2018. Austin is no longer a UMD student so the title, Head of Lettuce, went to Weisz. Photo courtesy of Austin Weisz

Andrew Weisz (left), second place winner of last year’s Lettuce Club eating competition, and Kofi Austin (right), winner of last year’s competition, on April 27, 2018. Austin is no longer a UMD student so the title, Head of Lettuce, went to Weisz. Photo courtesy of Austin Weisz

“We have three places you can get,” Weisz said. “Second place is the half wedge, and third place is the house salad. They’re all part of the salad bowl, which is our leadership team. Our leadership team is made up of past winners and past competitors who really love the activity and loved the competition and wanted to continue.”

Lettuce Club is fairly new to UMD’s campus. The club used to be a small one that met occasionally to eat lettuce with the winner becoming Head of Lettuce, however, the group slowly stopped with meetings and became inactive, according to Weisz. So, he started it back up in the spring of 2018.

“The lettuce club used to be a thing four or five years ago when I came here, but then it just kind of died out,” Weisz said.

Weisz, who is also a tour guide, enjoyed speaking about it on tours, so when the club ended and he could not talk about it to visitors anymore, an idea to start it back up struck him. He didn’t want to bring it back and keep it the same as it was, however. He had new ideas for what this club could be.

“When I restarted it, I wanted to give it a new life,” Weisz continued. “When I started it last semester, we decided that we wanted to do it for more of a cause.”

Lettuce Club is expanding from UMD’s campus to the Duluth community by partnering with local food banks. All the proceeds from the participants’ buy-ins will go to Churches United in Ministry (CHUM), a local food bank in Duluth, to help with the food crisis.

“With every one dollar we raise [CHUM] can get seven dollars’ worth of food,” Weisz said. “We’re doing a unique way to get more,” Weisz said.

Marissa Stifter, one of the six members of Lettuce Club, with another one of her favorite green vegetables, spinach. Stifter has been helping Andrew Weisz restart the club to help with his stress over it. Photo courtesy of Marissa Stifter

Marissa Stifter, one of the six members of Lettuce Club, with another one of her favorite green vegetables, spinach. Stifter has been helping Andrew Weisz restart the club to help with his stress over it. Photo courtesy of Marissa Stifter

Marissa Stifter, one of the other six members of Lettuce Club, also said how she likes linking the club to the community.

“I like that we’re turning [Lettuce Club] into something that is not just a joke,” Stifter said. “I like that we’re turning it into something that is both fun and really beneficial to the community.”

Donating to food shelves are not the only way the club is heading toward the community. For their competition in the spring of 2018, they collaborated with Super One and was given lettuce from the grocery store for free, according to Stifter. This year the club opening up the competition to the entire Duluth community, not just UMD students.

“We wanted to expand our demographics a little bit, because it’s fun having students, but if there are people who don’t go to UMD and they want to eat lettuce who am I to stop them?” Stifter said. “You can just be someone in the community.”

While this is a small club of only six current members, talk on the club has started to pick up around UMD.

Emily Borra, coordinator for Bulldog Welcome Week, spoke about it in every orientation speech she gave to incoming students for the fall of 2018.

“I wanted to highlight something UMD has to offer that you would probably never even think about or even image as something you could do in college,” Borra said in an email. “The audience would often laugh… I could see it ease tension in the faces of the incoming students and guests.”

More information on Lettuce Club can be found on their Bulldog Link page and more information on the event can be found on their Facebook.

“I would love this to be my legacy,” Weisz said. “Having it be a wacky thing that allows people to get away from the stress of college and just have a good time are my dreams and goals with it.”

CultureBrianna Taggart