Food For Thought
Faculty members and students who are interested in getting to know one another in an informal setting are encouraged to consider the Food For Thought seminar series, relaunching in spring 2024.
We know that students who interact with faculty will have a more rewarding educational experience than students who don’t. However, new students may find the prospect of conversing with a professor daunting. The Freshman and Sophomore Seminars were created in part to help students get over this fear: a small, interactive class can be a good place to get to know a professor well enough to build a student’s confidence about approaching them in other contexts, such as office hours. New students may also be curious about topics that aren’t directly relevant to the focus of the seminar. They may, for example, have questions related to college in general or a professor’s research interests in particular. Or they may want to draw on the professor’s experience to guide them in tackling the challenges they are facing. The Food For Thought seminar series was created with the goal of providing an informal context in which such conversations could take place.
How does Food For Thought work?
Faculty and students in freshman and sophomore seminars that are participating in the Food For Thought seminar series will meet for a meal before or after their class session in Cafe 3, Foothill, or Crossroads, up to three times during the semester.
- Meet for your seminar in the late morning, then proceed to a dining commons together for lunch
- Have lunch together in a dining commons at noon, then meet for your seminar
- Meet for your seminar in the late afternoon, then proceed to a dining commons together for dinner
I’m enrolled in a freshman/sophomore seminar. How do I know if it’s a Food For Thought seminar?
A subset of freshman and sophomore seminars each semester participate in Food For Thought. These seminars are identified in the Berkeley Academic Guide with a note that says, “This seminar is participating in the Food For Thought program”; they are also identified in the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Brochure with a fork-and-knife icon.
Are there any out-of-pocket costs associated with participating in Food For Thought for faculty or students?
No. The Freshman & Sophomore Seminar Program will cover the cost of up to three meals per semester for participating faculty and any students in their seminars who do not have a meal plan.
If you are a student enrolled in a Food For Thought seminar and do not have a meal plan, you should let your professor know that you will need meal vouchers. Your professor will send a list of students who need meal vouchers to the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Program in the first week of classes, and your professor will distribute the meal vouchers to their students.
If you are a student enrolled in a Food For Thought seminar and have a meal plan, you will use your regular meal swipes (via Cal 1 Card) when your class eats together in the dining halls.
I’m teaching a freshman/sophomore seminar. How do I designate my seminar as a Food For Thought seminar?
All faculty who are teaching in the Freshman & Sophomore Seminar Program are invited to participate, beginning in spring 2024. Please let us know if you are interested in participating in this special program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply indicate your interest on the Faculty Participation Form when you submit your seminar details and we will follow up with you.
Faculty who are teaching a Food For Thought seminar should request meal vouchers for themselves and on behalf of any students enrolled in their seminar who do not have an on-campus meal plan. The deadline for participating faculty to request meal vouchers for themselves and their students is by the Friday of Week 1 of classes. Physical meal vouchers will be sent to faculty via campus mail by the Friday of Week 3 of classes. Faculty will distribute the meal vouchers to their students.
We recommend that you communicate to your students the specific dates, times, and dining hall that your seminar will eat together at the start of the semester. Consider including this information in your syllabus. Please check Berkeley Dining for hours of operation at Cafe 3, Foothill, and Crossroads.
When do meal vouchers expire?
Meal vouchers are valid for the academic year, beginning the first day of fall semester and expiring on Saturday of finals week in spring semester. Meal vouchers cannot be refunded or exchanged.
Why aren’t we using Cal 1 Cards anymore?
Faculty and students who participated in the Food For Thought seminar series’ earlier iteration may remember that meals were loaded onto Cal 1 Cards. Food For Thought was previously offered in partnership with Residential Life, which donated the cost of meals for faculty and students without a meal plan, as well as in-kind staff support to load faculty and students’ Cal 1 Cards with funds each semester. In spring 2024, we are pleased to relaunch Food For Thought, but no longer have the financial and in-kind staff support from Residence Life that enabled us to use Cal 1 Cards for the program. Moving forward, we will use physical meal vouchers for the Food For Thought seminar series.
I have more questions!
Email us at email@example.com.
Please note that the Food For Thought seminar series that is associated with the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Program is distinct from the program offered through the Basic Needs Center.