Luscious Lobster Lingers Longingly in Lively Leadership Conference


Courtesy of Elena Jablonski

Back row, from left, Dannon Olsen, Jacob Bifone, Rose Stamper. Front row, from left, Elena Jablonski, Carson Price, Dylan Mapp, Devon Fields.

Elena Jablonski, Freelance Contributor

The sad moment of truth came when Student Government Association President Dannon Olsen frantically rolled down the passenger window of our seven-seat van in the middle of traffic and stuck his head out.

His vomit did nothing to placate the rest of us, who just wanted to return to our Atlanta hotel and lie down. Olsen’s puking was an unexpected and off-point punctuation mark to a leadership conference convened by the American Student Government Association near the end of IUS Spring Break. It wasn’t a conference-related reaction, but instead, Olsen’s stomach rejecting the few bites of undercooked lobster from a restaurant dinner.

Olsen, five peers, and I were trying to make our way back to the hotel from a Brazilian steakhouse when the intestinal eruption began. Throwing up during Spring Break vacation is undoubtedly a cliché, but the food poisoning that gripped Olsen—and the rest of us weary travelers—could have happened anytime, anywhere.

Nonetheless, our road trip to, and experience at the ASGA conference otherwise went very well. Along with Olsen and myself were Dylan Mapp, Carson Price, Devon Fields, Rose Stamper, and Jacob Bifone. The steakhouse outing was supposed to top it all off. Believe it or not, our dinners tasted excellent. I had never had lobster before, so it seemed as good a time as any to try it. The dish was passed around for everyone to sample. Our long day made us anxious to get back to the hotel.

That was the plan until Olsen grew nauseous while driving our van, with me riding shotgun. He couldn’t take it anymore and said we should trade places, especially because traffic was at a standstill on the interstate. We jumped out and frantically switched. Olsen barely settled in before rolling down the window. Sometimes, throwing up makes a person feel better. This was not one of them. A few minutes later, we discovered that Olsen had set the GPS for the wrong hotel. He and I switched places again in the car, much to everyone else’s dismay.

At the hotel, we sought refuge in our separate rooms, which is when the real fun began. More of us came down with symptoms that suggested food poisoning. The symptoms developed at different rates. Only Fields and I were spared.

Our drive back to New Albany was pockmarked with stops at gas stations so that people could vomit. During the entire trip home, the side of our van still sported Olsen’s crusty ode to Pollock, too.

It’s been a month since the trip. Believe it or not, we wouldn’t change a thing.