Tag Archives: CTW

Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”

-David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”

When I walked into my English Critical Thinking and Writing (CTW) class on the first day, I had no idea what to expect.  My professor, Nick Leither, showed the class David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water.”  After discussing the speech, Professor Nick switched gears and flicked the screen over to the next slide.  The screen displayed the course overview, reading “Food Porn: Reading Food, Self, & Culture.”  Both intrigued and confused, I left class on that first day with two questions.  First off, how can an english class be entirely dedicated to food?  Also, what the hell is water?  I had no clue what was to come during the two quarters of this class.  

I should first explain that I did not sign up for this class.  Every freshman at Santa Clara University (SCU) is randomly placed into a mandatory CTW class before even arriving to campus.  I was honestly quite displeased when I learned that I had been assigned a 7:30-9:10 PM CTW class.  Convinced that my brain would not be capable of attending class at this time of the day, my naive-self even talked to my advisor to see if I could switch into a different CTW section at a different time.  As you can probably guess, my advisor told me to suck it up, and viola- my “Food Porn” CTW class at 7:30-9:10 PM was here to stay for two quarters.  Although I was first unhappy by my CTW course placement, the class and its material caused me to reflect on my lifestyle and personal values, which which will continue to stick with me- not only for the remainder of my college experience- but for the rest of my life.  

Continue reading Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

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The behavior of wastefulness // Robert M. Ota

B.F Skinner, one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century, was able to teach pigeons how to play Ping-Pong. Through controlling the pigeon’s environment and conditioning their behavior through positive reinforcement, Skinner was able to have pigeons peck balls back and forth across a table. Skinner asserted that behavior, human or pigeon, is determined by one’s direct environment (Koren, Marina). However, unlike the simple-minded pigeon humans are much more complex. Skinner argues that human behavior is shaped through our changing environment—what we listen to, what we watch and even more importantly what we spend our money on.

As a bright eyed college student, I love these theories about behavior and what makes us who we are, however I was never so keen as to actually notice this in the real world. My critical thinking and writing course exposed me to the harsh realities of the food industry, and allowed me to connect Skinner’s environment driven theory of behavior to our food choices as consumers. Throughout my first year in college, I became an expert on the food industry through writing a plethora of papers on the revolting practices of factory farming and the marketing tactics of food corporations to generate more revenue. My CTW course and extensive research on the food industry has made me realize that consumer behavior on the purchasing of food products is largely influenced from the environment that food corporations have set up around food products.

One of the most influential research assignments I have done this past quarter was based on the popularity of super foods in the health market. Our demand for these highly nutritious foods is a direct result from the sketchy marketing behind these food products. Because “the term ‘super food’ is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, marketers can use the phrase freely” (Turner). I conducted an experiment just to see how much the term ‘super food’ influences consumers willingness to pay by comparing how much consumers would pay for a bowl of acai and a bowl of blueberries. Even though “There is little evidence that a Continue reading The behavior of wastefulness // Robert M. Ota

One Size Feeds All

By Felicia Kuan, Kennedy Murphy, Rachel Napolitan, Elena Wagner-Bagues, Sened Haddad | April 25, 2017 | Updated: April 25, 2017


I am staring at my plate, and I can hear my father’s voice in my head, “we don’t waste food in this house.” My plate is still halfway full, but I am completely full. As a final attempt to not have the chicken on my plate die in vain, I ask if any of the people sitting with me would like some of my food, but they all decline as they still have food on their plates as well. I am in the dining hall in the Benson Memorial Center at Santa Clara University. I walk over to the compost bin and guiltily scrape perfectly edible food into a compost bin that’s almost overflowing with other people’s food waste. I convince myself that it is not my fault, that they serve us too much food, and the food is not being wasted, it is being composted. But I still can not help but feel bad.

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Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter

I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.

Continue reading Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter

Why the Heck am I a Vegetarian? // Jackson Bordelon

I am a vegetarian and I have no idea why. I would like to say that I have some convoluted yet eloquently verbalized answer to how what I eat changes the world for the better, but I don’t. Continue reading Why the Heck am I a Vegetarian? // Jackson Bordelon

Anthony Bourdain: The Culinary “Bad Boy” Lifestyle // Isis Navarro

I want to be Anthony Bourdain in my old age. Hell, I wouldn’t mind doing it right after graduation. Traveling the world, eating some of the greatest culinary delicacies and not giving a damn about anything seems likes a pretty fantastic way to spend my time. It would be just like in the movies. I want to have food directly from the source. I want to learn to make mole from scratch in Oaxaca, Mexico. I want to go to Turkey and have coffee made in a cezve. I want to go to Tokyo and have the freshest sushi of my life. I want to go to Carnaval in Brazil and buy espetinhos from a street vendor. I want to go to Naples, Italy and share a Margherita pizza with me, myself, and I. Continue reading Anthony Bourdain: The Culinary “Bad Boy” Lifestyle // Isis Navarro

A-What?-Ness // Ana Maria Vidaurri

I’ll always remember my brother telling me “ignorance of a law is not an excuse to break the law.” This seemed really strange to me, as I wondered how everyone could possibly know every law in every city in every part of the world. I’ve come to realize that what my brother said to me those many years ago is true, not just in judicial hearings, but in everyday life.

So often people choose to do what is easiest for them. They choose to drive a car because it is easier than walking home. They choose to go to McDonalds because it is easier than picking up groceries at the supermarket and cooking a meal. And more often than not, they choose to ignore underlying problems when dealing with intense issues, such as animal cruelty, sustainability, and violence. However, it is crucial for one to educate themselves on important issues in order to gain greater understanding of a situation and generate a clear opinion.  Continue reading A-What?-Ness // Ana Maria Vidaurri