First Annual AV Chili Cook-off Turns Up the Heat on Cystic Fibrosis

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In conjunction with Westminster's Homecoming tradition, a new tradition began this year that brought both camaraderie among alumni and awareness to a worthy cause. Westminster College Audio Visual Services and the AV alumni hosted the first annual Homecoming Chili Cook-off and raised over $300 to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The cook-off was themed as "Help us crank up the heat on Cystic Fibrosis!" It was a dollar to taste all of our seven unique, homemade, donated entries, and three dollars for a bowl. All proceeds went directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

A steady stream of tasters flowed from 11:30 up until halftime.  The entries included a great variety of ingredients, from sweet potato and quinoa to jalapenos and apples. The winning entry, "Maureen's Chicken Chili" proved to be the favorite, based on the votes of those who taste-tested the entries.

"We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout this year. As the tradition continues, we encourage everyone to get involved by entering their own chili recipe or stopping by to taste. Thank you to those that made it out this year!" said Kelly Matune, PR and Operations Manager in the AV Department. 

Homecoming provides a great opportunity with alumni coming back to campus and so many other terrific events happening. We have hosted a homecoming tailgate for alumni from our department the previous two years, featuring everything from deep fried turkeys to AV-shaped cookies. Coordination and planning was handled by our AV alumni officers - Mike Miller ('97), Gabe (Buckley, '01) Dean, William "BJ" ('06) and Betsy (Nolan, '07) Sieg, as well as all of our current AV staff.

Raising money for Cystic Fibrosis has been a long-time goal for the AV department. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). AV has participated for many years in college wide efforts and fundraisers for CF, particularly for Claire Hartner, daughter of Westminster Enterprise Network Manager Kelly Hartner. Last year the department and a number of other groups from Westminster's campus helped "Team Claire" collect over $36,000 in generous donations to the worthy cause.

For more information please contact AV Services at (724) 946-7188 or

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Visitors could taste-test the entries for $1 or enjoy a bowl and complimentary cornbread muffin for $3.

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AVAC President, Mike Miller ('97), serves up the heat as a visitor taste-tests the homemade chili.