By Sawsan Kazak
First year gastronomy students met on the 8th of September, 2012 for the annual orientation of the program. After a brief in-class run through the program and its administrators, students and faculty were divided into three groups of about 10. We then set out to discover the great city of Boston through our ‘GPS Urban Adventures’. Armed with GPS gadgets and a vague list of random clues, the three teams headed off to discover Boston through the various scheduled waypoints.
It was fitting that the first stop on the challenge was Fenway Park as the Red Sox are a big part of the Bostonian culture. The second stop on the urban challenge was the co-op garden plot in the Fenway Victory Gardens that is run by BU Gastronomy students. Expecting to see rows of already planted tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs, I was pleasantly surprised to see the plot in quite a raw and organic state. The students participating, or thinking of doing so, have a real say in shaping the garden and its future; it’s not just going to be some light watering this season.
Between each meeting point, the students stopped and played games. Some games involved throwing balls at each other, others involved drawing on the ground with string and other featured strange playing cards with odd pictures. The aim of the games was to allow students to get to know each other better. Yes the games were a little silly, and it was hot and rainy at times, but the different teams were able to get to know each other’s pasts, present and futures, not to mention each other’s names.
The teams then split off into different directions in the city, only to meet again in front of a Clover’s food truck in downtown Boston. After a quick stop for some rosemary fries and another game, the teams were off again. Due to time constraints and students’ energy levels dropping drastically, a few of the waypoints were skipped and students converged at Meadhall; a charming restaurant-bar with hundreds of local and imported beers on tap. The heat, hunger and long hours were worth the great beer selection and crispy pork rinds.
The orientation aimed to introduce us to each other; what I also realized was that different backgrounds, different passions, and different goals and dreams fuel foodies and food-enthusiasts in different ways. How people arrived at the program and the many things people intended to do with the gastronomy degree after they were done was endless. Also, talking to students that have already taken classes, I now have a clear plan of what classes I want to take in the future. All-in-all, a day is always going to be good when it is spent with other foodies.
Sawsan Kazak is a student in the Gastronomy program. She has a bachelors in psychology from Concordia University in Montreal and worked in Kuwait as a news reporter and editor.