Exploring the Journey of Coffee with Metropolis Coffee

For the past two years, students in the Food For Thought class have visited the Metropolis Coffee Company’s roastery to learn about the life of the Coffee plant. They’ve toured the state-of-the-art roastery and gotten a behind-the-scenes look at each step of the process. Metropolis is dedicated to serving a stellar cup of coffee, but what’s even more important to them is respect. Respect is at the core of the company’s philosophy, from farmers to consumers.

The students were not able to take a physical tour of the facility this year, but Carrie Shemanski, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, brought the visit to them. Carrie jumped on a Zoom call to talk about the ins-and-outs of sourcing, roasting, brewing, and serving coffee. She led the students in a virtual coffee cupping experience and gave them tips on identifying and describing flavors. The ultimate question is, of course, “How many cups of coffee do I have to drink before they stop tasting like coffee?”.

Examining Policy with Connie Jordan

Juniors are taking a course called Policy. The first Unit, called “Legislate,” investigates the ways that policy happens through legislative bodies. For the most part, our curriculum focuses on the Federal level of the US government; in past years, our students have spent considerable time with the City of Chicago’s legislative body, the Council. This year, we were thrilled to be joined by Connie Jordan, Public Defender in Cook County (who had also visited us in February with Latoya Hughes, a State’s Attorney).

Germane to our studies in Policy, Ms. Jordan shared with us two bills her office is currently advocating at the State level with regard to criminal justice reform: one in the IL House that would do more to assure the rights of accused persons to access phone calls, and one in the IL Senate that would redefine the category of “habitual offender” to exclude accused persons under the age of 21.
Field Experience

Meeting Human Needs at Lincoln Park Community Service

Unit I of SDGs & You is entitled Access, and it asks students to investigate the first, second, and fourth Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, No Hunger, and Quality Education (respectively). The students’ trip to Lincoln Park Community Service to prepare, serve, and eat a meal with the residents there gave them some first-hand experience with people in their community who know the challenges related to these goals quite intimately. This experience contributed primary research data to their first Action Project, which asks students to argue that a human need should be regarded as a human right.

Why?

This week we will travel up Halsted to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter to prepare a meal for and eat with the residents of LPCS. In addition to providing service, we will be thinking about our studies of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the situations in which we might consider human needs to be more properly human rights.

How?

Students are responsible for planning both bagged and hot lunches for 35 people while staying within budget. Students are tasked with taking Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs into account as they determine what foods will go into each meal. Finally, students will prepare and serve lunch as they eat and talk with the residents of LPCS.

In preparation, we are mapping some areas around the world most impacted by the challenges referred to in SDGs 1, 2, and 4. We have likewise used data from the City of Chicago’s data portal to turn the mirror back on the United States, asking ourselves where in our own communities we share similar struggles. Our meal service at LPCS will show us how, even in an area of Chicago well-known for its relative wealth and privilege, challenges regarding poverty and hunger still exist.

Field Experience

Experiencing Visual Rhetoric at the Living Memorial in Marquette Park

Juniors in the Rhetoric class met with Alia Bilal from Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial in Marquette Park. Students have been pursuing the guiding question, how do voices work to unite people, divide opinion, and transcend conflict? In the third unit of this Humanities course, students are asked to look at how rhetoric inspires and mobilizes?. The Action Project for Unit 3 asks students to create “an original artwork” that “speak[s] out on issues that receive little attention” and “inspires collective action.” In order to contextualize such a statement and experience it in person, we journeyed to Marquette Park to see the monument there to Dr. Martin Luther King’s protest march in 1966, known as the Living Memorial.

Field Experience

Mastering Rhetoric with Troy LaRaviere

I first became interested in the work and activism of Troy LaRaviere from hearing and reading news reports (mostly on WBEZ and the Reader) about his refusal to implement educational policies mandated by the mayor and his surrogates in Chicago Public Schools. I found myself swayed by many of the arguments he put forth through those media and on his own personal blog, and I witnessed some of the results: good, as when his efforts helped uncover a corrupt contract for which CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was imprisoned; bad, as when he was removed from his post as principal of Blaine Elementary in Lakeview.

Field Experience

Attending to Human Needs @ Lincoln Park Community Shelter

Unit I of SDGs & You is entitled Access, and it asks students to investigate the first, second, and fourth Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, No Hunger, and Quality Education (respectively). The students’ trip to Lincoln Park Community Shelter to prepare, serve, and eat a meal with the residents there gave them some first-hand experience with people in their community who know the challenges related to these goals quite intimately. This experience contributed primary research data to their first Action Project, which asks students to argue that a human need should be regarded as a human right.

Why?

Students will manage a budget for food, planning for a group of 25-30 residents (plus our class). We will create a plan for preparing the food in time for an 11:45 serving, after which we will eat with residents, sharing in both food and conversation. Finally, we will clean up the kitchen and common room of LPCS and reflect on our service.

How?

In preparation we are mapping some areas around the world most impacted by the challenges referred to in SDGs 1, 2, and 4. We have likewise used data from the City of Chicago’s data portal to turn the mirror back on the United States, asking ourselves where in our own communities we share similar struggles. Our meal service at LPCS will show us how, even in an area of Chicago well-known for its relative wealth and privilege, challenges regarding poverty and hunger still exist.