“We wanted to think of something we can center research and campus events on, something broad that people can relate to, and something that’s also a global issue,” said Jasmine Ruddy, student government environmental policy chairwoman.
Although food-related events will be a part of the theme for the next two years, the theme’s primary focus is to inspire research.
“While exciting events, speakers and classes will be a product of the theme, the foundation of the theme will be global food research and research about pressing food issues in North Carolina and the U.S.,” she said.
Stephen Barber, administrative support specialist at the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, said the broadness of the new theme allows for a variety of discussions.
“So much of the conversation around food relates to southern culture. Here in our American studies department, there are a lot of folks who have that expertise,” Barber said.
The food theme will have a steering committee made up of administrators, faculty and staff, as well as three or four students.
“We’re looking for students who have backgrounds in hunger and food access, nutrition and wellness in food, culture and food, politics in food, local food or sustainability and food,” Ruddy said.
The steering committee will be accepting student applications until its Feb. 8 deadline.
One of the committee’s focuses will be making sure the food theme is widely known around the University.
“I think communication will be key because it was a challenge to get the word out about the water theme, so we want to give this group time to get the information about the food theme out across campus,” Barber said.
The steering committee hopes to inspire research and conversations about food on a local, national and global level.
“When we as a University talk about issues, it’s often the negative side of the issues, but this is meant to be a celebration and exploration of food too,” Barber said.