Victory really is the sweetest treat

After years of inconsistent activity, Mabee’s ice cream machine is finally back in business


Andrew Duong

First-year Nick Stipanovic getting ice cream in Mabee

To the right of the dessert table in Mabee Dining Hall is a soft-serve ice cream machine. For the past few years, the machine was out of order, and the green “machine not in use” sign was a permanent fixture of the dining hall.

Ella Charbonnet, sophomore marketing major, immediately took notice of the broken appliance upon first arriving on campus.

“As a first-year running for SGA [Student Government Association], it’s hard to build a platform for a school you barely know. I asked about it in climate check one day and I was told to get in contact with Charles Robles [the former head of dining services on campus], and we’ve been communicating back and forth for the last two years,” Charbonnet said.

Representatives from Aramark were in charge of maintenance for the machine because it was not owned by Trinity. At first they attempted to fix a part of the machine, but after several unsuccessful trial runs and the machine catching on fire, it was determined that it would be a better investment to purchase a new ice cream machine altogether.

“My focus for my sophomore year in SGA was to fix the small things on campus that make a big deal. With the menstrual product dispensers, to some people a pad or a tampon isn’t a big deal, but when you need it, it’s like a miracle. And with ice cream, it’s small but everybody loves it,” Charbonnet said.

Yancy DeLeon, first-year business analytics and technology (BAT) major, noted how accessible the new ice cream machine is for students and the versatility of the machine.

“When I found out the ice cream machine was installed I was so excited,” DeLeon said. “I like the convenience of having an ice cream machine on campus so I don’t have to go off campus for ice cream. You can make a cookie with ice cream on top of it, or a brownie with ice cream on top of it. It’s cool to play around with the machine and have fun.”

Prior to its installation on April 6, Robles appealed to Trinity to have the new ice cream machine purchased by the university as a capital investment to prevent delays when fixing the new machine in the future. Now that the university owns the machine, it will remain during the dining transition from Aramark to Chartwells.

Although Charbonnet has been the face of the ice cream machine initiative over the past two years, Robles, along with Demi Brown, dean of students, and Danny Nguyen, junior marketing and communication double-major and student body president, wanted the installation of the machine to be a surprise for Charbonnet, so they named the machine “Ella’s Ice Cream” after her.

“Charles wanted to find a way to thank Ella for her continuous dedication and persistence to making sure there is a working ice cream machine at Mabee,” Nguyen said. “I’ve been working on this, and I think there’s a really strong chance that the machine will continue to be Ella’s Ice Cream as we transition to Chartwells.”

Ernesto Gonzalez, associate director of facilities services, discussed his role in the delivery process for the new machine.

“I wasn’t involved from the beginning but Charles asked me to help with getting the machine delivered. There were shipping delays and potential supply chain issues that lead to the machine being installed later than we wanted it to,” Gonzalez said.

Charbonnet emphasized her sense of accomplishment when the new machine was finally installed and in use for students.

“It felt like such a huge accomplishment. … A lot of times people say they wanna do something in SGA, and a lot of times it doesn’t get done, but I saw something and it went all the way through,” Charbonnet said.

Nguyen articulated that SGA senators can affect the community in critical ways.

“Students have the ability to create some really meaningful and long-lasting consequences for our community. It just goes to show the importance of student governance and how we can impact others and also impact ourselves as well,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen encourages students to voice their concerns and share their suggestions with Trinity dining services to improve the overall dining experience on campus.

Charbonnet also credited Robles’ role in this whole process.

“I genuinely couldn’t have done this without Charles. Charles responded within a day every time I emailed him,” Charbonnet said. “What makes Trinity so unique is I can have relationships with people like Charles where it’s not like pushing against a wall.”