Students say remote learning limits participation in holiday events

By: Kaylen Arnal

Some Red River College Polytechnic students enjoyed holiday drinks during Hot Beverage Week, but others said remote learning made them miss out.

Emma Szarek, an RRC Polytech Business Administration student, said she is a regular coffee drinker and has never heard of Hot Beverage Week. She said remote learning made it challenging to participate in events in and around the college.

 “I’ve been remote like my whole time this semester,” said Szarek. “So, I haven’t even had the chance to like experience this event or many events.”

Szarek said she would have loved to participate in the event if she were at the college.

“I think it’s a great way to motivate students to try something new and a good way to boost energy before powering down on an assignment or test,” she said.

In the Exchange District, 12 local brewers crafted a limited-time feature holiday drink from Dec. 6 to Dec. 11 for Hot Beverage Week.

Al Dawson, owner of Harrisons Coffee Co, participated in Hot Beverage Week and created the Fudge Brownie Latte. 

Cedrick Tormo, barista at Harrisons Coffee Co, brewing their Hot Beverage Week feature Fudge Brownie Latte./KAYLEN ARNAL

“Inside the latte, there is fudge, toffee, steamed milk, a nut brownie crumble, and a triple caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top of whipped cream,” he said.

Dawson said he joined Hot Beverage Week last year as he loves exploring different avenues with coffee. This year, he said he joined the event to bring fun to the community. 

“What drove me to join the event this year was just to have fun and meet new people,” he said. “… what makes a barista great is their ability to make a connection with someone in under three minutes.”

Coffee shops were some of the first businesses to close their doors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dawson said he thinks all businesses in the Exchange District are hurting a bit which is why he wants to add some fun to this event.

“I think anything that can help us get together as competitors and create awareness about us as a whole is something great.”

Dawson said he hopes his team will continue to extend their hand outward to those in need.