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The Popcorn machine: a Brockport cornerstone

by Aaron Cerbone - News Editor
Tue, May 2nd 2017 07:00 pm
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR

The Seymour College Union popcorn machine is an extremely popular part of the Brockport campus, as evident by the Union's constant refillings of the machine.  The machine produces 3,918 batches annually, resulting in 2,000 lbs. of popcorn being popped a year.
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR The Seymour College Union popcorn machine is an extremely popular part of the Brockport campus, as evident by the Union's constant refillings of the machine. The machine produces 3,918 batches annually, resulting in 2,000 lbs. of popcorn being popped a year.
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The smell is unmistakable as you walk through the doors of the busy Seymour College Union; rising above the savory scents of Subway and Fiesta ... popcorn. A staple of late 1800's fairgrounds, movie theatres and the Union at The College at Brockport, the popcorn machine sitting by the Union's information desk is an iconic part of the Brockport experience.

Who hasn't grabbed a bag as a substitute for lunch, to snack on in a class or to take home and enjoy with some Netflix? When the popcorn machine was introduced to the Union in 2011, it was originally located in the Gallery but quickly moved to the end of the Brockport Student Government and 89.1 The Point hallway where it pops to this very day. The machine, a unique idea from Director of Student Union and Activities, Kim Haines, was meant to bring traffic to the then less-populated building. On the side of campus opposing the dorms, there was not much reason for many students to walk to the Union. As the Union made other changes including moving the package room, the machine provided a reason to make the trek across campus.

In the six years since the machine's introduction, the Union has seen more and more students as the popcorn machine sees a consistent rise in use as well.

According to Jasmine Bradwell, a Union manager in charge of the machine, they have popped 3,918 batches this year so far, rising above the average for past years.

How much popcorn is that exactly? One cup of kernels produces one batch of popcorn, with each 50 pound bag of kernels containing 81 cups and costing $15.62. Staff Assistant for the Student Union and Activities, Joe Serio puts in orders to Brockport Auxilary Service Corporation for the bags, averaging 40 bags a year. Serio calculated the popcorn statistics, resulting in the small machine producing over a metric ton (2,000 lbs.) of popcorn a year. All that popcorn leaves students satisfied, with many looking forward to the treat as a highlight to their day.

"It makes my day," Brockport student Chad Rowley said. "I think it makes a lot of people's day to be honest with you."

Students have realized to popcorn machine's social potential as well.

"Sometimes I see people I know, or talk to on the regular," Brockport student Shaquille Rivera said. "It's a good way to converse with other people."

Not all the feedback is as positive though; the Union team takes complaints because the popcorn is too salty, the machine is broken or is closed for the summer.

"I take a lot of that as positive because people enjoy it and like having it," Haines said.

The popcorn machine costs $7,000 a year to run, with money from the state keeping the kernels popping day after day. 

Beloved by students, faculty and staff alike, the popcorn machine will continue  buttering up potential students, keeping current students salty when it is out of order and maintaining the Union's poppin' atmosphere.

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