When Goshen College students do projects for their classes, having them extend beyond the classroom isn’t always at the forefront of their minds. 

However, from time to time those papers and presentations make their way into public spaces for others to see and reflect on. In the case of a food sustainability video originally made for the Roots of the Environmental Crisis class, these kinds of projects can even be found in a church’s sermon series.

According to Rosanna McFadden, pastor of Creekside Church in Elkhart County, the church received a grant from the Center for Congregations to develop their community ministry. One of the main points they chose to focus on was determining sources of healthy, affordable food in the area. While researching media for the worship series, they stumbled upon a video called, “Food Deserts In Elkhart County” by GC alumna Carol Lee ‘18.

“We referred people to the video who wanted more context for the phrase ‘food deserts,’ since it was a new concept to many people,” McFadden said. “The video was a helpful stepping stone for our own education and … for the community we are partnering with.”

Upon seeing Lee’s video, which detailed the reasons behind food insecurity in Elkhart County, Creekside Church decided to expand their partnership with the Seed To Feed program, which also operates out of Elkhart. The church now offers materials and education about “container gardens,” which are smaller, contained gardens that encourage individuals to take charge of growing their own local produce. 

“The essential aspect of mutual ministry is the development of community relationships,” said Diane Lund, a Creekside member who reflected on the recent sustainable food practices in a perspective article for Mennonite Creation Care Network.

Gabe Miller, a senior whose own project for Roots of the Environmental Crisis spurned Assembly Mennonite Church to install solar panels, agreed with Lund.

“Without clear communication, working together across disciplines to create change in the food system is nearly impossible,” he said. “Video, music, theatre and other media remind us what we long for and what we stand to gain by working for a better world.”

Unfortunately, Lee was unavailable for further comment on her project, but hers is not the only one gaining further attention in the public eye.

EnACTing Support, a 2019 Maple Scholars project that addresses education on sexual assault and gender-based discrimination in educational settings, is continuing to venture further into the public eye after success on the Goshen College campus this year.

Emmy Rupp, a junior who worked alongside Kelsey Winters ‘19 on the project, said that the curriculum they created has been used with a number of groups on campus so far, including resident assistants, student leaders, members of the Prevention Intervention Network (PIN) and more.

“We see the program as being important in training secondary educators and other responsible employees,” Rupp said. “We will also be one of three Maple Scholars projects [from last summer] to present our findings at the research banquet at the end of this summer.”

In an effort to share the training program with other educational institutions, the EnACTing Support team, which was supervised by Anna Kurtz Kuk and Phil Weaver-Stoesz from the theater department, has continued to seek funding and grants. In the meantime, however, the team will be presenting at a Notre Dame Peace conference in April as well as collaborating with PIN and the Advocates group for an LGBTQ+ training.

For more examples of student research extending beyond the classroom, attend the Academic Symposium on March 20, where current students will present research, SST, senior and special projects they have created in a class atmosphere. More information can be found at https://www.goshen.edu/academics/honors-opportunities/academic-symposium/.