Tag Archives: Jonathan Safran Foer

The Art of Cheating // Samantha Needham

Through out the past two quarters in this CTW course I have looked in depth at many different topics such as, factory farming, the food industry itself, dishonesty, academics when it comes to college athletes, academics in general, and what I’ve noticed is they all seem to have something in common. Cheating, and if I’ve learned anything over these past two quarters it is that cheating is an art. Cheating is inevitable, even when you don’t think you are doing it, you probably are to some extent.  Continue reading The Art of Cheating // Samantha Needham


The Story of Two Quarters//Brendan Jones


After grasping the realness of the conclusion of this growth-filled two quarter course, that is the word that comes to mind when I think back on what I have, we have, accomplished.

Ten months ago, I was a scared 19-year-old boy, who basked in the fullness of my high school accomplishments. I vocalized my readiness to take on the world, but inside, I didn’t want to move. I was terrified of the change.

In fact, I was terrified of any change. I desired nothing more than to stay inside my safe, Brendan-sized bubble for as long as I could.

However, the transition to college, after a month-long battle with my inner yearnings, ended up victorious. I threw up the white flag and realized the necessity for myself not to change ineluctably, but to adapt.

With this new-found, open mentality, I was now ready to not only vocalize my readiness, but actually see, maybe, if I could be open to new ambitions, and work them to fruition, possibly.

After some time experiencing and contemplating some ideas with what I could experiment with, an idea arose.

We had just begun the book “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I can’t tell you why I had always been interested in becoming vegetarian. And I don’t mean I won’t tell you; I mean, I don’t know what it was about the lifestyle that intrigued me. But it did.

I decided to give it a go, “at least for a little while”, and honestly, it wasn’t easy. I didn’t expect it to be, though, as I had been a meat eater my whole life. But those first two weeks were cruel. I constantly was tempted, and the fact that the sunny-side up burger was the special for those what-felt-like everlasting 14 days, made it especially cruel.

But, I kept reminding myself of the commitment I had made to this, and with that, along with the constant motivating classes of discussing the harsh realities of the factory farming industry, I kept my head high. (and my nose out of the Bronco)

It soon became easier and easier, and yes, although this probably had to do with some methodical biological-bodily function (I’m a business student), I believe it was these classes from this course that kept me disciplined to this idea ,,,scratch-that,,, to this visualized necessity.

Yes, I am downplaying the actual educational foundations we learned for which vegetarianism is built upon, but eh, we’ve already heard that right?

My point is this.

We have discussed various different topics in this course, ranging from the maltreatment of corporations, such as Enron, to the seducing powers of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. However, no matter the topic, I believe the foundational truth behind each can be summed up in one quote from none other than Mr. Safran Foer himself.

“Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something. Not responding is a response – we are equally as responsible for what we don’t do.” (Foer, Jonathan Safran)

This quote has manifested in me and has helped me understand the motives behind each person, idea, organization, theory, fact, truth, and/or societal norm. Just as every iceberg is much more than appears, concepts, such as vegetarianism, have much more to them than just refraining from meat.

This discovery has evoked a sensation within me to dig past the surface level of issues and try to understand why they exist and what steps we, as a community, teammates, classmates, etc. can take in order to rid of them, not to be vague.

I came to this conclusion during my second essay of spring quarter. I decided to write on a subject in which I have an interest in, particularly due to my participation in the issue, as an athlete here at Santa Clara.

I wrote about the complexity of the injustices with the Nike sweatshop controversy and Santa Clara’s direct contribution through the up and coming aspiring winning-culture of the swoosh-endorsed athletics program, with a slight twist on the hypocrisies this creates due to the University’s Jesuit background.

In parallel, this ability has, in turn, also directly influenced my writing.

I started the quarter, not so ironically as well, a scared writer. When I researched a topic, I refrained from digging too deep into the opposition. I was scared what I would find; I didn’t want to know what the other side argued, I was okay with my ignorant argument and stuck to it.

Now, however, as I’ve attempted to up my own writing skills, I’ve noticed that my opposition takes up more of a bulk of the paper than even my own research. (for better or for worse)

So, here I am, an adapted, an influenced, and surprisingly enough, still-veggie Brendan, ten months later.

Ten months. That’s all it took.

And I can’t wait to see where I am ten months from now.

Signing off,

Brendan Jones
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Access and Diversity, Crane Library, University of British Columbia, 2013.

“Change – Why Can It Be Hard?” Executive Coaching | Life Coaching | Career Coaching | Mindfulness Teacher | Mindful Self-Compassion Student. N.p., n.d. Web.






Humans Suck and Here’s Why//Lexi Enstrom

Throughout my high school career I always knew I was a student who excelled the most in STEM classes, which is why I chose a major in engineering. Never once did I feel excited about or inspired by my English classes because they were always the same procedure: read a book, be tested on the book’s material, write an essay about the book. Sometimes we would explore the deeper meanings behind said books, but we were rarely allowed to go off on our own and write an essay about anything we desired as long as it falls under the themes of the class. Nick Leither’s CTW (Critical Thinking and Writing) class did just that. Throughout the two quarters that I got to be apart of Nick’s CTW class, I have learned more about food, self, and culture then ever before. And boy has it changed me. We as a class (and on my own) did extensive research on factory farming, cultural and environmental impacts of meat, and dishonesty in general and it has all lead me to one conclusion: Humans suck.  Continue reading Humans Suck and Here’s Why//Lexi Enstrom

Ignorance is Bliss? Eh // Sarah Busey

What did I know going into the Critical Thinking and Writing sequence? Apparently, not a whole lot. Throughout my two quarters in this class, I’ve gained so much knowledge on factory farming, dishonesty, the writing process and American ignorance it’s crazy. To be completely honest, I didn’t expect it at all. After receiving my schedule and seeing that I was enrolled in a class called “Food Porn”, I really had no clue what the heck the school had just done. Who names a class after an Instagram hashtag? After settling in and being challenged to learn everyone’s names on the first day (mission accomplished), I knew that I was in for quite an experience. Continue reading Ignorance is Bliss? Eh // Sarah Busey

Eating Without Question

I never was really interested in the food that I ate, especially since I wasn’t too picky and ate whatever my mom fed me. All that changed once I entered college and enrolled in a Critical Reading and Writing class.

I first thought, “Great, another English class where I learn pointless rules of how to structure my essays and reading boring essays.” However, this Critical Reading and Writing class completely surpassed my expectations. For the first quarter, we focused entirely upon the topic of “Food” reading books such as Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. This completely changed my perspective upon food that I was putting in my body.

Image result for food cartoon

An essay I wrote, “Fever for Health” delved into the eating habits of college students. Having always heard about the so-called “obesity epidemic”, it all seemed far-fetched to me, especially seeing the lack of “obese” students. However, it was eye-opening upon learning that 95% of college students eat below the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (Spain). Furthermore, although a “mere” 4.9% of college students were obese, 21.6% of them were deemed overweight (Huang). I was shocked. Although it wasn’t visible seeing this, I realized the food we consume has much more of an impact then we believe.

Image result for obesity cartoon

Not only do the food we consume affect our bodies internally and externally, there are consequences affecting beyond us. From Foer, I discovered the tragedy of the meat industry, with terrible conditions and treatment of animals that are bred solely for our consumption (Foer).

Image result for people looking at food

Now, this caused me to look internally within myself. I had always eaten food that was served for me without much thought besides, “It’s soccer season, so I should lay off of eating junk food.” Never I had given much thought like, “Where is this meat I’m eating come from and how was it produced?” Now, although I haven’t been converted to veganism or vegetarianism, I know think much critically on the food and its quality. This Critical Reading and Writing class actually turned out to truly educate me as I should’ve been previously.



Works Cited

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Little, Brown & Company, 2013.

Huang, Terry T.K., et al. “Assessing Overweight, Obesity, Diet, and Physical Activity in College Students.” Taylor & Francis Online, Journal of American College Health, 24 Mar. 2010, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07448480309595728.

Spain, Erin. “Northwestern Now.” College Kids Need to Change Unhealthy Ways, news.northwestern.edu/stories/2014/05/college-kids-need-to-change-unhealthy-ways.



The Domino Effect // Anne Vasquez

On September 18, 2017 I attended my first classes at Santa Clara University. After an early start to my day with an 8 a.m. chemistry lecture and 11:45 a.m. calculus lecture, I felt like my day should have been over.

Nope, a 7 hour gap before my 7:20 pm Critical Thinking and Writing English class teased me. And yes, I did say 7:20 PM! I was pre-enrolled for my CTW so was automatically opposed to the class, especially because of the super late time. I remember sitting in our class the first day thinking how unusual of a time it was to be in class. Our CTW class started off as a group of students sitting in awkward silence. The silence would last for minutes and I applaud our professor, Nicholas Leither for being persistent and making us sit through that silence. Eventually our discussions started to flow more as we grew closer as a class and awkward silence was not an issue we had to worry about.

Continue reading The Domino Effect // Anne Vasquez

The Think Tank//Patrick Boos

It’s August of 2017, and I finally pull up my future schedule for the first time. Everything looks great until, no that had to be a mistake. There’s no way they’d make me go to a class that met from 7:20 to 9 p.m., right? Wow, was I wrong. Fast forward to the first day of class, and I still couldn’t believe that I was walking to class, all the way on the other side of campus, while the sun was going down. To make it all worse, the teacher seemed far too happy to be teaching a bunch of freshman at this awful time on a Wednesday night. I’m not a guy who can handle over-eager optimism, and this guy was just beaming at us from the start. Didn’t he know that I was a Biology major, a science student with absolutely no interest in taking another English class? Needless to say, my first experience concerning Nick Leither and “Food Porn” was not a great one.

Continue reading The Think Tank//Patrick Boos