Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Dinner at Sassafras Co-op: Food and the Making of a Conscious Community
Author(s):Whitley, Anona
Cooperative Living
Senior Thesis
Abstract:This project talks about my experiences as a student researcher at Sassafras Coop, which is a vegetarian housing co-operative near the university campus. Fourteen co-op residents share the house and everything in it, including cooking and labor responsibilities. A critical part of co-op ideology is the building of community. At Sassafras, food plays an important role in the creation of community through its designation as a vegetarian space,shared cooking and food purchasing, and a shared daily meal. Food is central to my project because it is the object which initially attracted me to Sassafras. I immediately identified with Sassafras' foodways, and this has evoked memories and previous knowledges that are a source of pleasure but that also mediate my experience and analyses. Looking at food provides a window through which one can identify how the connections between individual members' sense of “being in the world” and Sassafras ideology are lived out in daily life at the co-op. Egalitarianism, re-use of resources, vegetarianism, conservation, anti-capitalism, and a general rebuilding of community all play into what I call Sassafras ideology. Broadly speaking, this project speaks to the ways in which individuals come together to consciously negotiate their understandings of the complex processes of the world.
Issue Date:2008-04-25
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-04-25

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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