Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Natalie Kruse puts the finishing touches on “Santa’s Workshop,” the winning design at the 2010 Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

Gingerbread house

"Sugar Shak," a creation of the Masters of Public Administration team, earned second place.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

Gingerbread-Taj Mahal

The Office of Education Abroad’s rendition of the Taj Mahal earned third place.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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Gingerbread 2010: Environmental Studies 'ices' the competition

Program wins with Santa's workshop design

A dash of sugar, a pinch of creativity and some good old-fashioned competition turned West 82 into a baker’s paradise this past Thursday at Ohio University’s annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.

Thirteen teams representing departments across the University competed in the event, which is organized every year by Ohio University Culinary & Dining Operations. But in the end, Environmental Studies successfully defended its title from last year.

The winning design depicted Santa’s workshop on Christmas morning. The 360-degree display featured a large tree house and train, adorned with lively fondant elf figurines.

The winning six-member team included representation from MSES students, faculty and staff, as well as program alumni and supporting family members. The design depended on the architectural expertise of alumnus Greg Seymour and the baking expertise of Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Natalie Kruse.

But according to team member Cheryl Hanzel, manager of the Voinovich School Office of Student Academic Services, the real credit goes to the students.

“We really depend on our students. They become partners in the program … and (the Gingerbread House Decorating Contest) is a fun way to reward them for all their hard work,” Hanzel said. “It’s a fun day, and they really get into it. I think it’s one of the best things that Baker Center has done.”

As for how the winning design relates to environmental studies, Hanzel joked, “Well, we ate as we went, so there was no waste.”

Other honors in the 2010 Gingerbread House Decorating Contest went to the Masters of Public Administration program’s “Sugar Shak” (2nd place), the Office of Education Abroad’s “Taj Mahal” (3rd place and People’s Choice award), and the Office of Sustainability’s “Global Warming-themed Igloo” (4th place).

Results of the 2010 Gingerbread House Decorating Contest:

1st Place: Environmental Studies

2nd Place: Masters of Public Administration

3rd Place & People’s Choice: Education Abroad

4th Place: Office of Sustainability


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Video shot by Monica Chapman and Tasha Attaway and edited by Andie Walla