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The Scholarship of Everyday Life & The Coffee Equity Lab

A program offered by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities 

and  

The Social Innovation Practice Area @ The Wond’ry 

 

So, you drink a lot of coffee? Have you ever wondered who first figured out how to roast and steep coffee beans to make the beverage many of us consume daily? Are you curious about how coffee changed the course of history, spawning democratic ideals in some places along with oppressive systems of labor in others? Have you ever imagined the complex web of workers, farmers, shippers, corporations, and national economies that interact to put that cup of coffee in your hand? Do you ever consider how your tastes and choices in coffee shape the lives of others in your community, your region, and far beyond? Do you want to use your coursework at Vanderbilt to make meaningful change in global industries after you graduate?  

 

In the 2020-2021 academic year, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities (RPWC) and the Wond’ry  will enable students to discover how diverse fields of study apply in the real-world context of coffee. Through workshops and speaker events, research and experiential learning opportunities, and hands-on design projects, students will  examine the complex sociocultural, economic, environmental and political circumstances that shape the global coffee supply chain. Students will see how their everyday choices can contribute to inclusive economies, healthy environments, and social and environmental justice. This will lead students to develop their sense of agency in generating social and environmental change as individuals, scholars, and professionals. Students will also gain opportunities to explore how they may apply their Vanderbilt education to meaningful careers in the future.  

 

Opportunities to Get Involved

The partnership will offer a variety of in-person and virtual activities that foster intellectual inquiry, experiential learning, and civic engagement for undergraduate students. Participation in all three activities (2 of 3 speaker series, 2 of 3 experiential workshops, and successful completion of a designing for coffee project) + taking one additional course (see list) = Immersion.  After completing the speaker series and experiential workshops, students will have the opportunity to propose an idea for a project and then execute their design project through participation in the Spring ’21 program at The Wond’ry. Questions? Contact us for details. Activities planned for the 2020-21 academic year include: 

 

  1. Coffee Speaker Series (Fall 2020): A 3-part workshop series introducing Vanderbilt students to the interdisciplinary world of coffee. 
  2. Coffee Experiential Learning Workshops (Fall 2020):A 3-part experiential learning series that introduces students to the past, present, and future of coffee through tastings, brewing lessons, sensory experiments, and more.
  3. Designing for Coffee, a DIVE Co-Curricular (Spring 2020): Students will complete a semester-long research design and systems thinking project that either advances knowledge about the global coffee industry or provides new capabilities to a coffee industry partner committed to advancing meaningful social or environmental change in the industry.

 

Interested in Learning More? Contact Us!  
Elizabeth Meadows : Associate Director, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.  Elizabeth.s.meadows@vanderbilt.edu  

 

Hanes  Motsinger : Leader of the Social Innovation Practice Area, The  Wond’ry Hanes.motsinger@vanderbilt.edu  

 

Application for  The Scholarship of Everyday Life: Coffee  

The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities  and

The Social Innovation Practice Area @The  Wond’ry  

 

The Scholarship of Everyday Life: Coffee is a multidisciplinary, co-curricular series of talks and interactive, hands-on experiences, in which undergraduates discover the connections among their classwork, scholarly research, everyday objects they use every day, and how that use can affect people in communities from the local to the global scale. In Fall 2020, we will explore the complex sociocultural, economic, environmental and political circumstances that shape the global coffee supply chain, so that students will see how their everyday choices can contribute to inclusive economies, healthy environments, and social and environmental justice. 

 

The Fall 2020 schedule will include 3 talks/panel discussions with experts on coffee and 3 hands-on interactive experiences (with virtual back-ups planned in advance). Students who participate in at least 4 of the Fall 2020 events are eligible to apply for the Spring 2020 Designing for Coffee projects @ The Wond’ry, a DIVE Co-Curricular program in which students will complete research design and systems thinking projects to advance knowledge about the global coffee and industry or provide new capabilities to a coffee industry partner to advance meaningful social or environmental change in the industry. 

 

Requirements:  
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher  

  • Demonstrated capacity for completing independent and collaborative projects  

 

Application:  

For each of the following prompts, respond in a paragraph of 300 words or fewer—one paragraph per prompt.  Please save your application as a Word (.docx) file or a pdf, with the filename “lastname-CoffeeApplication-Fall20.”  Please attach a copy of an unofficial transcript.  Applications due September 4, 2020.  Please submit to Terry Tripp, at  terry.tripp@vanderbilt.edu .  

 

  • Pick something you use or consume every day; imagine or chronicle the history of that thing in order to connect it to at least 2 of the courses you’ve taken at Vanderbilt. You may be as creative or as analytical as you like in how you see this object offering a new way to understand or apply the concepts or facts you’ve learned.  

  • Right before you graduate, you discover that you’ve inherited enough money from a mysterious and distant relative that you can do anything you want.  There are no financial, physical, familial, or geographic constraints on what you could choose to do.  What would you do?  

  • Analyze and describe a project you’ve undertaken and completed.  What about this particular project kept you motivated?  How did you maintain focus? Did you work steadily at it or in bursts of energy? What did you learn about how you work by completing this project?  

 

If you have any questions about the program, contact Elizabeth Meadows ( elizabeth.s.meadows@vanderbilt.edu ) or Hanes  Motsinger  ( hanes.motsinger@vanderbilt.edu ).  

Students will receive notification regarding acceptance to the program by September 15, 2020.