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Humans of Etown

Kenneth Berkenstock




Student speaks on the Marketplace Food Quality.

Having been at Elizabethtown college for over half a year now, I decided to ask for others input on the food that is served to the student body.


Ken Berkenstock/Question: Having been at Etown College for over half a year now as a freshman, your choices with where or how to eat your meals were somewhat limited. With eating at the market place for a majority of your meals how would you rate the food. Are there any improvements that you would make, and is there anything that those that cooks currently excel in.


Collin Griffiths/Response: I would rate the food about a seven. I think that they really excel at their pizza, I love the Pizza bars and eat there about every day. I’d like to see if they would want to put out more mac n’ cheese. The Americanized Asian cuisine days are also very good. The general tso’s chicken and Mongolian bowls is also very good. The grill is also an awesome place to look for a consistent, solid meal. If I could improve anything, definitely would want to focus on fruit and having it everyday.

Humans of Etown-Andrew Watts

Etown student Andrew Watts

It’s August 2015 and Andrew Watts feels like he is going to throw up. He’s gone over this situation multiple times in his bed, but is still uncomfortable. After a couple of seconds, Watts decides it’s time. He opens the door of Royer 215 to meet his college roommate for the first time.

Who is Andrew Watts?

Andrew Watts is now a junior education major (social studies) here at Elizabethtown College. Watts is originally from Newton, Pa., but attended high school at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia. “It was definitely a different experience than a typical high school student having both school and religion so intertwined.” He has a relatively small family with only one sibling, Rob, who graduated from St. Joseph’s University in 2015. When asked to describe himself, Watts said that he believes that he is a dedicated and internally-motivated student.

Why Etown?

The main driving factor in Watts’ decision to attend Etown were the academics. “After researching multiple schools, Etown’s education program really set itself apart,” Watts said. “I recently got excepted into the master’s program, which I’m proud of myself for.” Watts was also impressed with the family-like feeling that Etown had. “When I visited my senior, everyone at Etown was very welcoming and friendly. I knew this was a place where I wanted to go to college.”

Philly Fanatic

Watts is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan who has been attending games at FedEx Field almost his whole life. “I love the atmosphere of the tailgates and games,” Watts said. “It’s the best thing to do on a Sunday.” This past NFL season was particularly special for Watts. The Eagles were crowned Super Bowl Champions after beating the New England Patriots 41 to 33. “I might have cried a little,” Watts said. Even after such a fantastic year, Watts believes that his team is going back to the championship in 2019. “Go Birds!”


One of Watts’ favorite activities to do is to fish. Watts gives credit to his father for his passion. He’s gone on multiple deep-sea fishing trips with his family off the coast of NJ. “It’s amazing when you feel that first bite from the fish,” Watts said. Although Etown is in Central PA, Watts still finds time for his passion. He can usually be seen at Lake Placid with a rod in hand when the weather is nice. “Fishing helps me relax,” Watts said. “Whenever I’m stressing about finals, I come out to the lake to get my mind off of school work.”

Ireland Trip

This spring Watts has the opportunity to complete a short-term study abroad trip to Northern Ireland with Etown’s Department of Education. The trip will run from May 20-29th where Watts will take Peace Education and Integrated Schools in Northern Ireland and the United States (ED372). Although this will be his first time out of the country, he is still excited for the trip. “I’m kind of nervous about the plane ride, but know once I get to Ireland I’m going to have a great time,” Watts said. “On top of getting to experience the culture of Ireland, I also have the option to conduct independent research with a faculty mentor.”

Fast forward three years to August 2017. Watts is about to open the wooden door to his off-campus house. However, the door swings open before he’s able to grab the handle. Watts looks up to see his housemate reaching out to help him carry in his belongings.

Humans of Etown: Kristi Syrdahl

Kristi Syrdahl of the Office of International Student Services

Podcast Link:

“It’s funny because there’s a lot of things I’m very passionate about, I tend to be a very passionate person, if you will, but it wasn’t until fairly recently, like I would say the past couple of years that I realized there was a name for something that I’ve done organically almost my entire life, and that’s life-long learning and I’m forty now so that means I was pretty late on the uptake to find out that there’s a name for that. But ever since I can recall, outside of either being in school, or high school, or college, or working, or even now in my profession, I just am always seeking opportunities to learn something new. Whether it’s a new language, or volunteering to a kitchen help at a cooking school, or having a full time job or leaving that full time job I would go to culinary school, and then I would also go and have a master’s program while I was working full time, and there’s just always been this sense of wanting to explore and learn more. Because the more that I know, the more that I can sort of understand how the world works and how different people work and also to find out what it is that makes me who I am, and I guess since I’ve come to the college this is the first time that’s it’s really ten months, which means my June and July, for the most part, are free and I’ve just taken advantage of every opportunity and so that’s actually when I realized that it was a thing that I was actually doing it consistently. My first year, 2011 in that summer, I hosted two young, two thirteen-year-old students from China, they were coming here on a cultural program and we hosted them for the entire summer. And then the next summer, maybe I’m missing a year, maybe that was 2012 then 2013, I did an intensive three week, 8 in the morning to 9:00 at night, program at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, that was to be cross-cultural…conflict transformation across cultures. And then the following year I applied for a position that allowed me to be a leader of a group of high school students of United States Student…United States high school students, 15 of them, I was a co-leader for the experiment in international living in Spain. It was out of the 75 leaders they had 24 were new, and I was one of those. Out of like, 400 or 500 applications. But it was far too challenging for me, I just…it was good, it was a good experience in retrospect but at the time I was like ‘ahh’! And then travelling, and learning as I travel, and last year I also did a month-long in Sicily, I did a cooking program and learned about the multiculturals in there, and then this summer I’m doing a class at a college in Athens, I just put the check in the mail, so I’m really excited about that- to study food anthropology. So I guess that’s definitely something I’m interested in and that’s sort of all my other passions kind of tie into this life-long learning. Yeah I can’t imagine not having the- I mean I think it sounds like I have a great deal of financial wherewithal to do this but it’s because it’s a…how would I say…for me it’s a necessity. It’s like education doesn’t stop, improving yourself doesn’t stop, making yourself the best version of yourself you can be doesn’t stop. So if it’s a $3,000 investment in something I’m going to make it. And it also makes for cool dinner conversation as well.”

Humans of Etown: Sam Friedline

Sam Friedline

Sam Friedline is a hardworking and talented sophomore English education and Asian Studies major. They have worked their way up to where they are today through immense hard work despite various different challenges and roadblocks along the way. From being an LGBT high schooler to a broke LGBT college student, they have achieved many different things up to this point in their life. They created their own major, Asian studies, and finally is on their way to studying abroad in Japan in the fall, despite several setbacks. Sam is by far one of the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

“When I was in high school, I was in between whether I wanted to be a graphic designer, or whether I wanted to go on a different path where the chances of my getting hired would be higher so I went from graphic designer to wanting to be a coroner and then finally, I realized I wanted to be an educator. I made that decision after going through coming out as an LGBT person, and I realized that the lack of support that a lot of students have from their families, and teachers, and friends, and I know how difficult that can be. It’s really other LGBT people and LGBT students that really makes me want to advocate and validate young people so they don’t have to grow up feeling like they’re totally alone. So now, I go for English education, so that I can be that change in some young person’s life, and help them through that really difficult period of time where they are still trying to figure out themselves and still trying to gain acceptance from those around them.”

In their free time, they create beautiful pieces of artwork and collect many, many books. Their room back home is basically a library. They also work for the Office of International Student Services, running programs such as English Language Table and U.S. Culture and Slang. Everything they have done thus far has been for the betterment of others as well as themself. They are always looking for ways to help someone else, and their work here on campus has done nothing but prove this.

Anyone who has ever encountered Sam Friedline has for sure been greeted with nothing but kindness and a smile. Mx. Friedline is sure to impress anyone they meet with their hard work, kindness, and dedication to those around them.

Humans of E-town: David Varner Sr.

How did you get in the bar business?


Well, when I was 12 years old my Aunt owned the Lamp Post in Middletown and to make some money I cooked for her on the weekends. They called me Taco Dave and Wing Ding Dave, that was before chicken wings were known as Buffalo wings. At the time my Mom bartended part-time and she then eventually bought her own place and I was older by then so I cooked for her, bartended when I was needed and I managed the place at night so she didn’t have to be there.



What other experiences did you have in the bar business?


While I was involved with my mom’s business, I booked entertainment such as bands and Disc Jockeys and I planned special events. I also was a member of the bar’s pool team and I was the captain of the dart team. At the same time I was the guitarist in a band called Ace High so I would perform at my Mom’s bar and other local bars, as well as do fund raisers in the area. I also had my own DJ equipment and would DJ sometimes at my Mom’s bar only.


What is it like owning a bar in Elizabethtown?


Owning a bar or any business in Elizabethtown has its ups and downs. The one general downside to owning a business in Elizabethtown is the parking! I always hear people complain that it is so difficult to visit downtown businesses because of parking. But for us it’s not too bad because adjacent to our building is a municipal parking lot, however, most of our clientele are pedestrians. That is an upside to having a business in town, you are in walking distance for a large number of people. But we do have to worry and show consideration for our close neighbors. In the warmer but still cool months we like to leave the door open BUT we have to monitor the jukebox so that it doesn’t disturb the neighbors. We are also very strict with our customers respecting our neighbors as well. Another advantage of being in Elizabethtown is that most of our staff is within walking distance so when it snows or we need emergency coverage no one has an issue coming in to help out.


Do you feel that you have any competition in Elizabethtown?


Most definitely! Being a small family business we have competition from larger businesses on occasion but our biggest competition is the clubs such as the Legion, VFW and Moose. These are non-profits that are able to charge very low prices for the same product and we now have to worry about Giant since they are now permitted to sell take out beer and wine. Take out is a big part of our business and with our size we are not able to have the big selection that Giant has. But on the up side of that, people who don’t drive or don’t want to deal with the traffic still come to the End Zone for to-go beer. We’re a Mom and Pop place so any business like ours always has the potential to be a hindrance.



How did you acquire the End Zone Bar & Grill?


In 1999 I worked as a machinist at a local machine shop and my Mom came to me because she found a small place in Elizabethtown that had been a working bar that slowly decreased its hours and the husband passed away and his wife was ready to sell. My Mom asked me if I would quit my job, remodel the bar and then take charge of running the business with the understanding that we were partners and that once I was financially able, I could buy the business from her. With the support of my wife, I decided to go for it. Was it easy? No! I was married, we just bought our second house and our son was only 7 months old. It was rough at first but we made it all work out as best as we could.



Where does End Zone come from?


My stepfather, Herb. When my Mom purchased the place and the liquor license we had to come up with a name and Herb thought that Elizabethtown needed a sports bar. He thought it should be End Zone Sports Bar and so that is what name my Mom took. Once I bought the bar from her I changed the name to End Zone Bar & Grill and kept the trade name as End Zone Bar & Grill2, Inc. I really wanted to change the name completely, but the cost involved is more than I was willing to pay.


What are the ups and downs to owning a bar?


Everyone thinks owning a bar is all just a big party and a get rich quick idea, but it’s not. After owning the business for the last 12 years or so, my wife still works and helps me run the bar. If it was a get rich deal she would have retired a long time ago. It does have good points. You get to meet a lot of people and you are basically in charge of helping them have a good time and forget their troubles. But you also have to deal with all the certifications you and your staff have to complete, most of which we require. Every bartender is required to be RAMP certified (responsible alcohol management program), my wife and I are also RAMP certified and my wife is certified in food safety. It’s a lot of work but I also get to make my own hours and I don’t have to answer to anyone except the Liquor Control Board, the IRS and the insurance companies that insure our employees and our business. Even though I come and go as I please, that’s not to say that I couldn’t be called out at any time. There have been times when I have to go to the bar in the middle of the night, which is obviously one of the downs of owning a bar. There is so much more to owning a bar or your own business for that matter BUT, if you asked me if I would change the path I decided to take, I would say no. I am happy and comfortable with the choice I made 19 years ago.

David Varner Sr.