College Cuisine & The Freshman 15

A digital diary that imagines the resolution of college campus dining issues through terms relating to The Battleship Potemkin, a film directed by Sergei Eisenstein.


  1. Introduction: 

    The opening scene of  my video would be a picturesque view of a college campus. It’s a sunny day, care-free students are laughing and chatting in groups on the quad, and birds are joyfully chirping in the background. A voiceover would describe that this is the idyllic expectation of most innocent, college-bound freshmen. Suddenly, the clip would cut to a montage of clips depicting the reality of college life. Clips in the montage would include frenzied students scarfing down bagels and pizza on the way to class, stressed out students in the library snacking on chips and soda, and students in the dining hall carrying trays full of burgers, fries, and cereal. The background music for this montage would be more current, yet equally as ominous as the music in the opening scene of the Battleship Potemkin. 

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    Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.14.45 AM
  3. In the beginning of The Battleship Potemkin, a Czarist commanding officer awakens and scolds a new recruit, who is startled and visibly upset by the encounter. The scene is cut by a caption reading “There is a limit to what a man can take”. In College Cuisine & The Freshman 15, the voiceover would similarly remark that “There is only so much college students can handle.” The voiceover would elaborate on this and state that because incoming freshmen have to deal with an avalanche of new stresses (including heavy financial burden for many students), nutrition naturally becomes a low priority.
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.41.43 PM
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.41.33 PM

  6. In the next scene of The Battleship Potemkin, the men are enraged by the fact that they must eat a piece of meat laden with maggots. They are seen shouting and picking at the meat as they surround it in disgust. A caption is displayed across the scene that says “We’ve had enough Rotten Meat!” 

    The next scene in College Cuisine & the Freshman 15 will be modeled after the scene above. Students will be perusing the dining hall and gazing distastefully at the options they have to eat. The options will include soggy, overcooked vegetables, pieces of mystery meat, burgers, fried rice, and pizza. Students will angrily remark that they’re fed up with these unappetizing choices, just as the officers on the Potemkin expressed their distaste with the rotten pork meat.
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.44.25 PM
  8. The ship’s “doctor” comes and inspects the meat, claiming that the maggots are not worms and can easily be washed away with brine. The “doctor” who comes to inspect the meat in The Battleship Potemkin will be represented by a dining hall worker in College Cuisine & The Freshman 15. A student will approach the oatmeal station, only to realize that the oatmeal is extremely runny and has the consistency of water. The student will inquire about the oatmeal to a dining hall worker. The worker will glance at the oatmeal and remark that it is “perfectly fine”, instructing the student to mash up the oatmeal from the bottom. The worker leaves, and the student proceeds to mash up the oatmeal with no visible improvement in consistency. The student will look dismayed and angrily walk away to substitute for an unhealthy alternative: sugary cereal and hash browns.
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.34.01 PM
  10. In this screen shot, the crew members on board the Potemkin are seen lining up together, united as a front against the Czarist officers of their ship. The upcoming scene in College Cuisine & The Freshman 15 would show first-year students sharing the common experience of eating together at the dining hall, which unites them in a way similar to the navy officers. Just as the officers are forced to line up in front of their commanders, the students are forced to dine at the dining hall for each meal. The scene would portray a glimpse of the many groups of students eating, and then would cut to a particular group of students, including the one who asked about the oatmeal earlier. He will be complaining that he tries to be healthy, but the dining hall just doesn’t encourage it. Another student will remark that he is fed up with the food, and suggests the group go eat at an off-campus restaurant instead. The boy will to turn down the offer as he simply cannot afford to eat elsewhere, especially because the meal plan cost so much money in the first place (check out a GoAnimate video of how this scene might play out below, and please ignore my horrible voice acting). 
  12. The boy’s friends decide to leave anyway, leaving him there eating alone. He will barely touch his food, and subsequently leave the dining hall in dismay. The next scene will show him getting hungry late at night. He’ll pay a visit to the vending machine and eat a Snickers bar & some potato chips to satiate his upset stomach. We’ll then see a repetition of scenes shot on different days of the boy eating alone at the dining hall alone (even on weekend nights) and then proceeding to get unhealthy snacks from the vending machine. At the end of these scenes, we'll skip to the end of the semester. The boy will step onto a scale and realize that he’s already gained 15 pounds. 
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.41.42 PM
  14. In The Battleship Potemkin scene captured above, we see a group of officers finally take a stand against the enemy by attempting mutiny. In College Cuisine & the Freshman 15 we will see the boy also taking a stand by organizing a protest for improved dining options on the quad. A group of other students who are in similar financially situations will join him. 
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.43.48 PM
  16. In the scene above the Czarist commanders on the boat attempt to fight back against the mutinous crew. This scene will be mirrored in my film by a scene in which Emory Police Officers come to stop the protestors on the quad. 

  17. During the mutiny on the Potemkin, all hell breaks lose on deck. An officer pushes down a priest on the boat, who reminds him to think of how God would perceive his actions. To me, this symbolized that the officers had been oppressed for so long that they have lost faith in…. well, faith. In my film, the students observing the protest on the quad will discuss amongst each other how they are losing faith in the college for failing to adequately support their dining needs. 

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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.54.31 PM
  19. One of crew members, Vakulinchuk, is shot and thrown overboard during the mutiny. A group of courageous fellow crew members rush to “save Vakulinchuk!” but it is too late. The next scene in College Cuisine & The Freshman 15 will play out similarly. The boy leading the protest will be escorted away by the police officers. He is the misunderstood victim hero, just as Vakulinchuk is. Courageous students who were not initially involved in the protest will then be shown “saving” the boy’s cause by putting up banners and posters supporting dining reform around campus. 

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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.03.12 PM
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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.02.22 PM
  22. In the scene above, the citizens of Odessa hear about the mutiny on the Potemkin and are surprisingly moved by the revolutionary sentiment. We see thousands of supporters gathered to pay their respects to the fallen hero Vakulinchuk. Similarly, parents and students from other colleges will hear about the protest and show their support by sending in streams of letters and angry phone calls/emails to the college.    

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    Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.18.27 PM
  24. The support of the Odessians subjects to bloody massacre by Czarist officers, who open fire at the citizens down a series of stairs. Among the victims is an innocent young boy. In College Cuisine & The Freshman 15, the authorities on campus will be seen tearing down the posters/banners on campus put up by protestors and refuse to acknowledge the masses of emails and phone calls they've been receiving from angered parents and students. They will be attempting to quell the "rebellion" on campus just as the Czarist officers attempted to quell the revolutionary sentiment in Odessa by massacre.