The University of Indianapolis’ School of Physical and Occupational Therapy hosted its annual Chili Cook-Off on Nov. 5 in Martin Hall. The fundraiser, in its sixth year, brought in students, faculty and staff from across campus, all vying for the title of the Chili Cook-Off champion.
Those who attended the event were asked to make a $5 donation for a “sample spoon,” or a small spoon that allowed them to taste all of the entered chili, soup, or stew recipes. Once they decided on their favorite, they were allowed to indulge in a bottomless bowl of their choice. Attendants then voted in ballot-like fashion for whichever contestant’s concoction they determined was the best, and that is how the winners were chosen.
Professor of Physical Therapy Julie Gahimer claimed the first-place title with her version of Indiana chili, second place went to Instructional Technologist and Assistant Professor of Faculty Learning and Design Studio Beth Kiggins for her white chicken chili. Third place went to the founder of the event Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Bill Staples for his butternut pumpkin-squash vegetarian chili.
First-, second- and third place-winners received trophies and the title of Chili Cook-Off winner for one year.
All proceeds from the contest went to the Arthritis Foundation, a nonprofit organization geared toward the cure, control and prevention of arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation is in direct correlation with the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K/10K event from which all earnings are donated to the cause. This year, the cook-off raised $510.
Staples is captain of UIndy’s Jingle Bell Run team which is called The Snowhounds. His interest in arthritis and his desire to help the cause originates from his expertise in the science of gerontology, or the study of old age and the process of aging. He is a geriatric clinical specialist and also the president of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy.
“It was a way to raise money and have some fun at the same time,” Staples said. “I just thought that this would be a unique way to show off people’s cooking skills, and also to recruit people from across campus to participate.”
Not only does the Chili Cook-Off assist the Arthritis Foundation, it aids the UIndy campus as well.
“It [the Chili Cook-Off] positively affects campus because it, first of all, feeds the students. But it also goes to a good cause,” said first-year physical therapy graduate student Dylan Swartzell. “The money goes toward a benefit, and it’s just great for the campus to be involved and actively be contributing to the community in that way.”
Staples and co-coordinator of the event Administration Assistant of the Krannert School of Physical Therapy Vonne Edwards said they hope that the chili cook-off remains an annual occurrence.
“Because there is no cure for arthritis, I look for us to continue to help Bill [Staples] put this together,” Edwards said.
Anyone who desires to join the UIndy Snowhounds team is welcomed according to Staples. Donations can also be made at the official Jingle Bell Run website at www.indyjinglebellrun.com.