After team practice and dinner today, I stopped by Annenberg Auditorium to watch a screening of “Killer at Large”, a documentary released in 2008 now available on DVD.
The film was shown as part of the Ethics and Food series hosted at Stanford, which has drawn speakers such as Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle to US Sec. Dept. of Ag. Kathleen Merrigan and one former commissioner of the FDA.
While the series has largely had a food culture and environmental ethics bent, this film explored the intersection of food culture (or lack thereof), ethics (same), and the larger, complex sociopolitical sphere of the American food system.
There were a few members of various Slow Food groups from the area (Slow Food at Stanford, Slow Food Bay Area) / the “Farmers and Eaters” student group, as well as people who work on the BeWell.stanford.edu program. Prof. Christopher Gardner hosted the discussion afterwards, mentioning his undergraduate class (2nd year in a row) which has focused on these intersections of food and the environment.
Walk around campus, though, and you might be hard-pressed to find as many overweight or obese Stanford students as you might find off-campus. It’s been said that class and education buffer people from obesity, and of course you can’t forget the fact that people’s metabolism doesn’t tend to slow down too quickly until you hit your twenties. Or that Stanford’s chef-driven culture with high standards for sustainable deliciousness have in part contributed to keeping Stanford students happy and healthy (?). In practice, this seems to mean you don’t see students putting on too much weight until their junior or senior years, although perhaps this trend will change now that 1 in 3 American kids is now overweight or obese… which has meant that Type-II Diabetes is striking kids whereas it used to be known as Adult-Onset Diabetes, and Hypertension is now being found in kids.
What’s a Stanford student to do?
There’s not much activism just yet on campus about obesity or America’s larger weight problem, perhaps because it’s easier to focus on issues “out there” or that affect people other than yourself, perhaps it’s because students here, buffered by class and education, haven’t seen as much of these problems as have their poorer, less-educated counterparts. Or maybe it’s because we don’t talk about body image that much, much less about our bodies or our physical cultures.
Stanford won the PAC-10 fitness challenge for three years in a row, and you can’t walk / run / bike / drive around campus without seeing a few joggers (though asked, they would probably still like to believe they actually run, ahem) puffing along with poor form and padded sneakers. [As an aside, I wish runners would spend just a little bit of time trying to actually run well, but that’s another topic for another time).]
So what do Stanford students think about their bodies? their waistlines?
As it happens, STAMP, the Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project, is performing “Mirror, Mirror” this Friday and Saturday (February 26 and 27)at 7p and 9p at the Nitery on campus.
“The world premiere of a show exposing body image issues on Stanford’s campus.”
Hit the jump for more information on this FREE ADMISSION show
Whither Nitery? The Nitery is in Old Union, near that smaller fountain not far from the claw. See you there? =)