In the last two years, SOPHIA underwent big changes, having drafted a new mission statement and strategic plan. That development called for a new Web site, which we now have. In the process, a number of SOPHIA events took place and have yet to be included on our new site. One such great event took place in February 2016 at Pacific Lutheran University, where SOPHIA member and officer Dr. Sergia Hay helped organize a great symposium on Food.
Pacific Lutheran University has held a Food Symposium more than once, furthermore, and SOPHIA was able and happy to cosponsor the event. Videos are available of some of the more traditional panels and addresses. Events that SOPHIA sponsors can certainly incorporate some traditional formats in that way, but we want to ensure also that there is room for conversation, for dialogue, not merely paper presentations and (largely) one-way communication.
The Food Symposium at Pacific Lutheran was special because of the variety of elements of their events. In addition to some traditional panels, they also had an outing to learn about Mother Earth Farm and Hidden Valley Compost, for example, which addressed food’s connection to sustainability concerns.
Pacific Lutheran University also put together a lovely gallery of photos from the event here. And, while the event has passed, check out the great poster that they made for it!
Finally, here’s a write up about the prior Food Symposium, from 2014, which came out in the Lute Times. The event at PLU is exciting for SOPHIA because 1) it clearly was on a topic of interest to the public, 2) it demonstrated the importance of philosophy for matters of public concern, 3) it involved conversation and not only paper delivery and critique, and 4) it moved beyond the classroom, even including outings to venture to farms and meet with people actually engaged in sustainability-related work connected with farming and food.
So, while our intention was to publicize this event before and soon after it, a number of obstacles got in the way. Nonetheless, it’s time now that we recognize the work that Dr. Hay and her colleagues put together with SOPHIA support and congratulate them on the great success of their events. Examples of successful ventures can help others have ideas and models to follow. Congratulations!