Emory launched “Food E U” in the Dobbs University Center’s (DUC) former bookstore space this fall, a center that provides an array of extracurricular activities pertaining to food such as food sustainability and nutrition.
Food E U is the Food Service Administration’s (FSA) effort to continue educating students on sustainable food as well as on topics like food science, food journalism, food culture and food in art, among others, according to Julie Shaffer, sustainability projects manager and sustainable food education coordinator.
Shaffer explained in an email to the Wheel
that the new center in the DUC will provide students with resources and an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. Students will collaborate with experts and alumni at Emory and also from the Atlanta community, she wrote.
“There are now several generations of young people who do not know how to shop for food, budget for meals or prepare even the most basic of dishes,” Shaffer wrote. “These basic life skills, once taught in middle and high school, are missing in the educational life of most students today.”
Patricia Ziegenhorn, senior director for University food services, agreed with Shaffer and noted that student focus groups and surveys have indicated a need for such skills.
According to Shaffer, the Emory Food Service Administration launched a series of sustainable food education programs in the fall of 2008.
Since then, the University has “discovered that there is a very real need ... to be provided with opportunities to learn more about the food [students] consume,” Shaffer wrote. Food sustainability is also part of the University’s Sustainability Initiative, with the goal of having at least 75 percent of food falling under the category of “sustainable” — locally grown or naturally produced — by 2015.
Ziegenhorn wrote that she established the idea for Food E U last semester to “meet the extracurricular education for students who want to know more about food and nutrition.” Not only will students partake in activities, she noted, but they will also be able to cook and eat food prepared in front of an audience of attendees.
“I think the University will benefit because the students will benefit,” Ziengenhorn said. “This space is intended to bring all food education together into one space that is not taken for college credit. We want it to be inviting and a community for all students.”
Ziegenhorn explained that she had to present a proposal to Campus Life in order to establish Food E U. Once the committee approved the proposal, Ziegenhorn and staff members moved forward with the planning of the space. According to Ziegenhorn, they selected the former bookstore space in the DUC because of its central location on campus.
“The DUC is the student union for the campus and most of the students live in and around the DUC,” Ziegenhorn wrote. “It makes sense for it to be in the DUC ... With the office space in the back and quick access to the DUC kitchen it was a logical choice to program the space for a food space like Food E U.”
Several student government organizations, including the Student Government Association (SGA) and College Council, are also currently using the former bookstore area as office and meeting space. This past week, Food E U had an opening film titled “Grow” focusing on sustainable food as well as a presentation for students about eating healthy at the DUC.
Susan Johnson, assistant director of nutrition for the Food Service Administration, who will also help Shaffer implement Food E U, wrote in an email to the Wheel that she and Shaffer are open to hearing suggestions for the program from students
Ziegenhorn noted that students can find more information with Food E U by visiting the Emory Dining website.
Upcoming events include a cheese-making demonstration, a presentation on cooking in college residence halls and several film screenings. Students can find a schedule of events on the website.
“For optimal health and well-being, our students need to become conscious, conscientious consumers of food,” Shaffer wrote. “We believe that we can provide students with the tools they need to make informed choices in this area, in a way that is both dynamic and innovative.”
— Contact Jordan Friedman.