Days before Barnard College (NY) shuts down for the Thanksgiving holiday, the community gathers to enjoy a verrrry long sandwich called the Big Sub. In 2023, it was 850 feet long! This enduring and beloved tradition involves the presentation of a sandwich chain that meets various dietary needs and preferences, reported Barnard News, from meat to veggie, halal, kosher and gluten-free options.

The McIntosh Activities Council hosts the Big Sub, which is assembled in Barnard’s kitchen by Chartwells dining service. It’s then presented outdoors, stretching from Futter Field to the Diana Center in 2023, the length of over 2.5 football fields.

Here’s what the Big Sub looks like by the numbers…

  • Total Length = 850 feet
  • Pickle Chips = 2,000
  • Potato Chips = 1,050 oz.
  • Tomatoes = 260 lbs.
  • Lettuce = 180 lbs.
  • Grilled Veggies = 150 lbs.
  • Meat in Each 120-foot Section = 55 lbs.
  • Staffers Involved = 70
  • Days of Planning = 3

During the pandemic, Barnard community members got creative by sharing at-home sandwich creations. The Big Sub tradition has occurred annually for over a decade. 

When the Big Sub event concludes, Barnard Community Engagement & Inclusion and Columbia’s Food Recovery Network and Housing Equity Project work together to donate all extras to a local community fridge, according to Barnard News.

Learn more and see photos at: and

Sources: Barnard News, 11/14/22 and 11/20/23

Check out campus ideas like this one within our NEW Building Community Connections: Adaptable Innovations from 100 Campuses guide, filled with usable campus ideas to enhance belonging and well-being.