There is a joke that broke college students survive by eating nothing but top ramen and their own tears. Santa Clara University (SCU) does a pretty good job with making sure that their students aren’t subject to this sad fate. SCU provides a wonderful (and mandatory!) meal point system, so that students are guaranteed food throughout the quarter. Students can use these points to purchase food at Benson Memorial Center at their discretion. First year students are able to purchase either the basic plan, which is 1549 points, or the preferred plan which is 1812 points. After that, there is the junior/senior plan which constitutes 1064 points or the apartment plan which is 228 points. However, along with deterring a diet of ramen and putting students in charge of their spending, the meal plan also creates a side effect: it encourages students to steal.
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.
“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.
By: Aidan Fromm, Rohan Nair, Daniel Deglane, Robert Arnold, Michael Blach
With only a few days left to decide on a college after senior year, Santa Clara reached out to me. I was barraged by emails asking, “Daniel, have you heard about our most recent steps towards sustainability?” “Washing machines using thirty percent less water.” “Recycled water makes up forty percent of campus-wide water use.” “SCU Dining Services buys from local farmers.” “Designated recycle and compost bins.” Sure, a lot of schools claim they are sustainable, but after a simple Google search, I was astounded to find that Santa Clara is actually ranked the 11th most sustainable school in the nation according Best Colleges. Santa Clara’s commitment to sustainability finally drew me in. Wanting to be at an institution that claimed to value the environment not only out of necessity, but also of a fundamental belief in social justice, I chose Santa Clara University. Continue reading Sustaining a Facade
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.
Tucked away on the corner of Sherman and Benton Street, there is the strong smell of soil. Walk inside the metal gate and a small house appears to the right, with flowers crawling up the sides. You will see a wooden awning sitting to the left, shielding picnic tables from the sun. As you walk into the garden, the stone path quickly turns to dirt where rows of soil beds lay filled with flowers, peas, and other seasonal vegetables. On the far side, you can hear the ruffle of feathers coming from an enclosure home to six chickens. One or two volunteers are bent over, sweeping the path or clipping stems, oblivious to the construction noises of the new law school a block away, or the cars driving by on the street. They are zoned in on the task at hand, in touch with the serenity that the Forge Garden provides. Once you enter the garden, all classes and obligations that were stacking up in your mind fade away. How have you gone so long without knowing about this small green space, so tranquil and so close to campus?
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.