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How a Dinner Changed the DU Community

May 3, 2018 | Annetta Crecelius

One Day For DUWhether it's salty, sweet, spicy or savory, food is one thing that brings us all together. We disconnect from our devices and connect with one another.

Last spring, One Day for DU—the University of Denver's annual 24-hour giving blitz—helped raise funds to bring together graduate students from across campus to cook a meal, share their cultures, and learn from one another.

The Graduate Student Intercultural Cook-In is an interdisciplinary project of the Center for Judaic Studies, the Office of Graduate Education and the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management that aims to build community and cultural understanding through shared experiences and shared meals.

Graduate students learn about and prepare diverse foods, such as Sephardic and Latino, Indigenous Southwestern, and Middle Eastern foods. As they cook, students have the opportunity to get to know their fellow chefs.

"The Cook-In was the first graduate event that connected me with students from other graduate programs on the DU campus—so I met folks that I would never have encountered otherwise," said Tom Barlow, a graduate student in the DU/Iliff joint doctoral program in the study of religion.

When their culinary creations are complete, the graduate-student chefs share their meal with the community at a reception where everyone is encouraged to share their own food memories connected to their cultural identities and experiences.

Ana Carolina Gutierrez, a graduate student in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, appreciated the opportunity to work with foods indigenous to the Americas and to explore her own cultural heritage through food.

"It was great to work with ingredients that I saw my grandmother use growing up, but that I have not learned how to prepare myself," said Gutierrez. "I have incorporated [what I learned] into my indigenous heritage reclamation research."

The Cook-In truly enhances campus-wide inclusivity while helping students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends build community around the dinner table.

It doesn't take big dollars to make a big difference. Any gift, any amount from supporters like you goes a long way in elevating our students' experiences. See what you can DU through our next One Day event on May 23, 2018. Text code for updates and giving, 1day4du to 51555.

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