Mikaela Lane spent 4 weeks studying abroad in Florence. During her time there she took The Culture of Food and Wine in Italy and Critical Perspectives on Italy: Contemporary Culture and Society. Both classes opened her eyes to the history of Italy as well as what Italy is doing to continue its legacy of being a hub for culture and quality. These classes contained a fraction of all the information Mikaela absorbed during her travels. On weekends she and the friends she had made ventured outside the city of Firenze to other must-see areas of Italy. She visited Venice, the Amalfi Coast, Luca, Malian, and Sienna. The variety of destinations exposed Mikaela to the distinct cultures, environments, and staples of each region. Half of the fun of these destinations was the trip there. Navigating the train system, planning and adapting said plans, and remaining safe have instilled in her a sense of confidence. These difficult excursions, as spectacular as they were, challenged her to think on her feet, remain calm in high-stress situations, and navigate group dynamics.
Learning about the sustainable practices Italy instills in not only daily living but also commercially has and will continue to motivate Mikaela to implement these practices into her daily life and create change in her community. Food waste is a huge factor that is necessary to consider when trying to decrease the number of greenhouse gasses. The C02 emitted by the thousands of tons of food waste is something that Italy has been able to decrease. They’ve done this by locally grown produce, having a trash system designed to make composting and recycling too easy to not do, and designing packaging and supermarkets that are eco-friendly. Mikaela made a conscious effort to discuss topics such as racism, women’s rights, and politics. These conversations took place in the classroom during her sociology course. They also occurred at tables surrounded by fellow classmates from all over the United States, over carbonara with hostel visitors from all over the world, and temporary neighbors also residing in Florence. All these different perspectives, none being the same, have impacted Mikaela more than we can tell at this moment. They provided her with a range of stories that she holds dearly. She hopes to use this insight to be better equipped to help others, whether that be supporting them through a similar challenge or being better equipped to educate those around her.
CEE Title: Globally Green
Our vision and goal were to increase awareness of sustainable food practices and sustainability and educate students on environmental/sustainability practices in the US and abroad. Our event, Globally Green, featured presentations and discussions of cultural practices of sustainability. Guest speakers presented on sustainability around the world and in our community. Mikaela Lane presented on recycling in Italy she experienced during her time there and the slow food movement. Isabel Smith presented on tree restoration and agriculture in Jordan by discussing the organization she interned at and providing background on the environment in Jordan. Dr. Lehrer presented on agriculture in Costa Rica while Dr. Julier presented on CRAFT at Chatham University and the food studies program. Food was served at the event to represent the results of these sustainable food practices. To represent Italy, tiramisu and pizzelles were served, and to represent Jordan, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanoush, and black tea were served. The conclusion of the event discussed ways to participate in sustainability on the local level, including collecting donations for a local food bank. Attendees were asked to bring non-perishable food to donate. The event closed by discussing what attendees learned and how they hoped to apply that knowledge to the Chatham community and beyond.