Today Is About Community

I suspect like many of you, I was shocked and horrified to see the events unfolding in Paris on Friday afternoon.  I worried for the French people (I had studied abroad in France while at WFU), but also for our study abroad students – those in France and in other countries, as there are a lot of weekend trips by WFU students to see each other.

Our students’ welfare was at the top of everyone’s minds here.  Our crisis management group got together on Friday evening and Saturday morning to make sure we communicated with campus about the status of the situation (see here  and here) and offered support to anyone who needed it.  Kudos to our Global Programs and Studies office for their comprehensive check ins and communication with students abroad so we could ensure we knew they were safe and accounted for.

11 17 15 5Our Chaplain’s office organized a Steps Towards Peace – a Living Vigil today.  I did this after lunch.  You begin in front of Reynolda Hall, and members of the Chaplain’s office staff ask you to take a slow and contemplative lap around the Quad – either to pray, or to meditate, or to send positive thoughts, or just to think peaceful things.  After you make the lap and return to the front of Reynolda, you can take a piece of cloth and tie it on the prayer pole.  As you can see, there were already a good many participants.  This will run through 8 pm tonight.  This is a way our community can come together and think, pray, grieve, and respond as a community.  I highly recommend it to your students.

So that is a noble example of community on campus.  To take the idea of community – or communal actions – down to a less-serious level, today I also went to the Pit with a couple of friends and colleagues.  Too often we get busy, but sometimes it is nice to sit and eat with friends and experience community that way.

To give you an idea of some of the Pit’s offerings today, I have taken some pictures below.  Caveat that 1) I am not a professional photographer, and 2) the interior of the cafeteria made these look a bit dark.  I can attest to the fact that the food was tasty.  Here’s some of the things I saw on offer:

11 17 15 7 11 17 15 6A great big salad bar with romaine and spinach, as well as some of the expected salad toppings – shredded carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, regular peas, onions.  You get the idea.  There was also several different options for cut fresh fruit – good looking honeydew melon, pineapple (which I didn’t have but my colleague did and said it was good), fruit cocktail.

There’s also a couple of spots in the Pit where you can get whole fruit – oranges, bananas, apples, etc.  We took a look at the whole fruit too and it all looked pretty good.  I didn’t have an orange today but I can attest to past oranges, which have been sweet and delicious.

The grill line and the homestyle foods line got a lot of takers while we were there.  The grill line is what you’d expect – burgers and such.  The homestyle line had a couple of different types of comfort food – tater tots among them, and those seemed to be going fast.

11 17 15 1 11 17 15 2The Mongolian Grill had noodles and stir fried vegetables with chicken or beef, which looked really good.  There is an allergy-free zone that had really good roast turkey (which I took to cut up on my salad and give it some protein), very fresh looking cooked carrots, sauteed spinich (or some greens), and baked sweet potatoes.

11 17 15 3Right next to that was the Italian area, which boasted a couple of kinds of pizza.  I have to confess, the veggie pizza looked SO good, but I am trying to watch my waistline so I skipped it in favor of a custom-made omelet.  You can choose all your toppings – lots of different diced veggies, as well as diced meats and cheeses, and it is cooked as you stand there.

11 17 15 4There is also a dessert station.  While I was making my loop taking pictures, there were cookies and cupcakes and muffins.  As I was leaving, there was a big fresh tray of brownies that was added to the offerings.  There was also a giant sheet cake in the middle of the various food lines, which I just had to sample.  As something of a cake glutton, I can tell you that they always get their sheet cakes right.  Delish.

My salad and omelet were both really light and hit the spot.  My colleagues had salads, as well as hummus and chips, maybe one thing more each.  Suffice to say, all three of us had a really satisfying meal.  I know from time to time students may grump about not liking the food, but I’m a pretty picky girl and I can always find something I like there.

I highly recommend both the lap in the Steps for Peace, and in taking some time in the Pit to be present with friends and share a meal.  In times of trouble, that sort of communal activity can really help.

— by Betsy Chapman


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