Spike’s Third Annual Pizza Bowl Builds Community

Spike’s third annual Pizza Bowl took place Feb 9. in the Student Union Building. This event was first created during 2022 and has occurred annually since. What initially sparked the idea of the pizza bowl was the desire for Truman State University to celebrate National Pizza Day. University staff members also wanted to find a creative way to encourage student engagement with the campus, which led to the creation of the first Pizza Bowl. In its first year, there was an attendance of over 500 people; in its second year, there were around 650 people.
The Pizza Bowl is a competition between the local pizza restaurants in the Kirksville area. Students taste-test each pizza the various businesses provide and then vote on Instagram for who they think has the best pizza. The companies that participated in this year’s competition were Sodexo, Bellacino’s, Casey’s and Dominoes. In prior years, they had other businesses present, like HyVee and Pagliai’s. The 2024 Pizza Bowl’s winner was Casey’s, beating the two-time reigning champion Bellacino’s.
According to Tyana Lange, Truman’s vice president for student engagement, enrollment and marketing, the overall purpose of this competition is to help build community engagement. It is also a way to show students what Kirksville can offer them.
“I love this event because food always builds community, and that’s really important on campus,” Lange said. “The biggest reason to come is just to enjoy time with your fellow students. It is a really low-pressure way to come in and enjoy some snacks and talk to a lot of different people. It is a great way to get engaged and connected”.
This year, like years prior, students lined up outside the door before the event started. For some students, this was their third year participating in the pizza bowl, while for others, it was their first time experiencing this event.
One student who attended the pizza bowl for the first time was sophomore Libby Bishop. Bishop said she discovered this event through Instagram posts and other students talking about the event.
Bishop said that her first Pizza Bowl was enjoyable and worth waiting in line. It allowed Bishop to hang out with friends while eating some yummy pizza. At the end of the event, Bishop voted for Casey’s.
“I will for sure be back next year,” Bishop said. “I will be first in line again, counting down the minutes. I saw a lot of people out that I normally don’t see, which was fun.”