A Leap of (Learning) Faith
The new Guilford Edge curriculum played an essential role in allowing this course to be taught in a more meaningful way through first-hand experience of the faithful concepts that students were reading about in the classroom.
“I’ve appreciated the Edge because that’s how I like to teach anyway, and so I just feel greater support to do those things,” Bronwyn says. “If I’m not having fun or if I’m not interested — how can I expect them to be? And so I think the Edge really encourages experiential learning and team teaching, which I have found so valuable.”
The group often prepared and ate meals together and went on field trips nearly every other day.
“My favorite part was the field trips,” says Business and Spanish double major Shayne Kenny ’20. “I really loved interacting with people outside of class, and I really loved volunteering. I enjoy having the opportunity to meet new people from different walks of life.”
Students visited a Catholic workers farm that houses formerly homeless men who work there; they attended a community lunch at St. Barts that brings people together by providing free meals to the entire community, not just those in need; and they celebrated a Shabbat meal together.
“Having meals together and preparing meals together and talking about the meaning behind what we’re doing, whatever people’s perspective was, created an amazing bond with the whole class,” Bronwyn says.
The goal was for students to reflect on their own relationship to food and faith and to consider their life and practices around these two things. As part of their final project, each student shared a blessing, either religious or not, that they wrote to use during meals with loved ones — a beautiful, moving, and vulnerable experience for the entire class.
Providing students with hands-on experiences and deep connections strengthened their understanding of stewardship, food, and faith — and it allowed them to walk away with a greater appreciation for the process of how their everyday needs are met and to find inspiration and motivation in protecting our Earth.
“We felt to have a class on the subject of Food and Faith should be as inviting as possible,” Wess says. “This is an aspect that we will continue to build on in the future because there is so much depth and richness we still have yet to learn.”