Sustainability Week Kicks Off with Food Justice Fair

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Temple University’s sustainability week started off with the Food Justice Fair on Monday as student and community organizations gathered to share their locally-grown produce with students and anyone passing by.

However, this was more than just a pop-up farmers market. The fair brought forth a theme of awareness about food insecurity among college students. Students who have a difficult time balancing living expenses after spending a major portion of their money on food experience this insecurity.

Many organizations at the fair agree there is a general loss of connection with our agricultural systems. They feel the commoditization of food though industrial means has created a cultural understanding that the only way to obtain food is to purchase the items at your local store. The organizations like Greens Grow Farm, Temple Community Gardening Club and The Office of Sustainability are among the many in attendance hoping to provide comprehensive solutions to this issue.

“This event is about getting the word out and advocating about the issue. We are exploring the start of a student food pantry at Temple as an aid for student trying to get by and trying to get the degree. You can’t do that if you’re hungry, ” said Lauren Troop of The Office Sustainability.

Nina Taylor of the Temple Community Gardening Club said the club’s locally grown food is free to give away to members of the community and students who come by to work on the garden: “That is what we are here for. We are here to help when you wanna help people. Learn that and empower them to supply themselves with fresh food,” Deirdre Shehly of Greens Grow Farms said.

This common understanding of the struggle for students on a tight budget to pay for food is what brings these organizations together to help give all students the best edibles there is to offer. Given the alternative to purchasing a textbook or lunch for a month, the Food Justice Fair is a reminder that there are more options.

Redesigned Courses Invigorate Academic Performance

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The way students are taught in class is a subject that has been given some attention by Temple faculty members.  If you ask some students, they’ll tell you classes are not as engaging as they’d like them to be.

“I feel like some of my classes are good and some of them are really bad, but it mostly depends on the professor,” says Chemistry student Davette Ceaser. “It’s very rarely about the content of the course.”

A new approach to teaching classes is giving students an academic boost. Temple has recently implemented several redesigned courses that are intended to increase the engagement and amplify the success of students. Professor Daniele Ramella and his revamped General Chemistry class are one example of that success.

“I have flipped the entire class.  This flipping means taking the boring part (listening to my voice) out of the class time, and putting into the class time the harder part of processing the information, applying the information, and practicing problem-solving, which is what traditionally you would just do at home, after class, while studying.” says professor Ramella.

Ramella says that the key is engagement, which breeds higher learning behaviors.  Engaging students is a matter of pairing ways of communicating the material with making students feel comfortable in tackling that material.  This puts the students in the best position to learn.

“They’re not only passively listening to the materials which is being thrown at them, but they’re actually processing information,” he said.

As a result of these newly implemented teaching techniques students have passed these courses with more frequent A’s and A-’s.

“I was a skeptic myself, then I did it, and the result was astounding. And you end up with double the percent of A’s in your class.  Something is happening there.” said Ramella.

Ramella believes this will be a long and arduous process due to the scientific community just recently taking a scientific look at the process of learning. One thing is for certain, however, he is hopeful that we are headed in the right direction.

Temple University’s Hootathon Raises Over $400,000

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Every year, for the past 4 years, Temple students have gathered together to dance for 12 hours in an effort to raise funds and awareness for patients of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, known as HootaThon.

This past weekend, students and families of CHOP patients turned out in droves at the Liacouras Center.  The event offered dancing, games, and other activities for students to enjoy.

But it wasn’t all fun and games.  Many, like Maxi Ehrlich, were deeply touched by the stories they hear from the miracle families.

“I think the most important part is remembering why we’re here, and that definitely happens when we hear from the miracle families,”  Ehrlich says.

Hootathon’s Senior Director of External Affairs, Megan Schmitt, explained how this year is bigger than ever for the miracle families.

“Our goal is $400,000, so we’ve increased our goal by almost $200,000 from last year.  So we’re hoping that we will hit it today, we will see when it gets closer to midnight,” she said.

All their hard work paid off as the final tally for funds raised came out at $404,074.85.