Student Involvement takes ‘Milk and cookies’ to Instagram

A new host is invited every month to share a cookie, nacho recipe

The mid-afternoon walks to Coates Student Center for a cold glass of milk and cookies on Thursdays, or the plethora of nacho toppings and agua fresca on Wednesdays, have moved to Instagram.

As with many events this year, the Student Involvement tradition has moved online to continue bringing the Trinity community together through food. Once a month this year, students, faculty and staff have been invited to be hosts and share their favorite snacks and recipes.

Esther Esparza, Assistant Director for Orientation Programs, has worked to bring this digital format to life.

“Nacho Hour and Milk and Cookies have been staple traditions for our students and our community for decades, and events that all of our team members love so much! We missed the student engagement with our office in Student Involvement, and felt we need to continue these traditions for our entire Trinity community,” said Esparza.

Student Involvement estimates that about 100 people collectively have engaged with these digital programs. Jennifer Mathews, department chair for Sociology and Anthropology, filmed a tutorial for her 19th century crab meat dip in her kitchen with the company of her cats, Topo and Chico.

“I was teaching Eating and Drinking in the 19th Century so I was talking and thinking about nineteenth-century food. I decided to find a recipe that involved all nineteenth-century ingredients (such as Tobasco and canned crab) that were relatively low-cost so that students could make it and learn a little about the origins of these ingredients in the process,” said Mathews.

Gabriella Garriga, senior sociology and economics double-major and student activity mentor, says that featuring people across campus has allowed existing traditions to become much more personal.

“I think it’s nice to have these traditions because it creates some sense of normalcy and also helps transition the first-years into campus life and traditions,” said Garriga. “Although it’s not the same, it’s nice to also have professors and new people who wouldn’t have normally hosted the events, talk about and create their own homemade recipes!”

Courtney Balderas, director for Student Diversity and Inclusion, participated in February’s milk and cookies event by presenting hojarascas, or Mexican shortbread cookies.

“This recipe is more than a cookie for me, it’s representative of memories, tradition, my cultura and familia,” said Balderas. Balderas joined the Trinity community this year and did not get to attend Milk and Cookies before the pandemic hit.

“It was an honor to get to be a part of Milk & Cookies given what it has meant to students in the past. While it was of course not quite as exciting as actually getting to be with a student in-person to connect, I welcome every opportunity to interact with TU Tigers,” said Balderas.

Before the pandemic, the community was encouraged to collect a stamp for each time they attended Milk & Cookies. They would earn prizes such as mugs once their cards were punched out completely. Then, they were able to choose among a variety of cookie options like chocolate chip, sugar, M&M, and gluten-free options to pair with a milk of their choice.

“I remember collecting my stamps for a mug and always racing to get the best cookies,” said Garriga, who misses using these events as a pause to catch up with friends during the day.

“I really miss just organically running into people and catching up at these events. I really hope the traditions continue after COVID and that the sense of community that the events provide also returns,” said Garriga.

Mathews says that these events are a great way to provide a fun twist on old traditions in the meantime. “It was fun to put this together knowing that it was to connect with others socially and for fun. After all of the stress of the pivot and the pandemic, I enjoyed doing something a little lighter.”

Mathews also shared her crab dip recipe.


2-7oz cans of crab (can substitute with roasted vegetables such as roasted green chiles or red bell peppers)
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
dash of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
3 cloves of minced garlic


Combine all ingredients and stir well (by hand or with an electric mixer) and taste to adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate for several hours. Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, or cut up vegetables.

Students can watch these features and keep up with these traditions, as well as others, through the LeeRoy newsletter and by following @getinvolvedtu on Instagram.