Has spaghetti sauce ever changed your life? I’m not talking about going to your local fine Italian dining spot and having your cuisine motivate you enough to change your life. I’m not talking about immaculate pasta changing your destiny.

Over Christmas break, a friend of mine sent me a link to a site called TED. TED – which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design – was started as a convention for the great minds of our times, but has become much bigger than anyone had imagined. It is the ultimate “think tank” for ideas.

The link my friend sent me was a video by author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell. The video, found here, was a description of the thought process that went on behind the scenes of the food industry in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Gladwell told the story of Howard Moskowitz and how he changed the way people thought about market research behind the foods that companies sold.

Moskowitz’s big epiphany was the idea that not everyone wants the same thing. Upon studying people’s spaghetti sauce preferences, he found that there is no common ground between everyone. People have different ideas about what is the perfect spaghetti sauce.

Moskowitz’s second discovery was the concept that people don’t exactly know what they want. His data proved that nearly one-third of people enjoyed chunky spaghetti sauce, but no company actually made a chunky spaghetti sauce at that time. People wanted something they didn’t know about.

These two natural ideas can be adapted to the machine that is Gannon University, and college admissions in that respect. As a prospective student, there are things that you want in a campus. Maybe you are concerned with places to study. Gannon has many study lounges and the Nash Library is always a great place to go. I’m sure most people want to feel safe on campus. We have a dedicated campus police staff and are adjacent to the Erie Police Department.

There are over 70 clubs and organizations that Gannon students call their own. From respective honor societies to social and spiritual groups, Gannon has many ways you can interact with the campus. While on a campus tour, all of these amenities will be on display. You probably won’t be interested in every single club, but Gannon offers them, because – as Moskowitz discovered – everyone wants something different.

During your tour, you will find out about the Student Success Center (SSC). Located in the Palumbo Academic Center, the SSC offers free tutoring services to any student on campus. Another place you will see is One Green World Café. Started by Gannon students with a business plan, One Green World is a newly renovated building on campus that delivers premium coffee in an indie coffee shop atmosphere. While many prospective students who come on a tour of Gannon’s grounds don’t know about these places, they discover that these types of facilities are something they want on a college campus. In other words, you might not know that you want something until you see it in front of you.

Spaghetti sauce truly changed Moskowitz’s life. One man reinvented the entire market research system and, in turn, gave us a new way to look at how people find happiness.

When you travel on college tours, come looking for what you want, but try to discover something that you didn’t know you wanted. As Gladwell quoted a Yiddish phrase on tunnel vision, “To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.” So please break out of the horseradish and explore the condiment aisle. It’s the only way you can “ketchup” with the world around you.

Why wait? Schedule your GU campus tour today!

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