‘Empty Bowls’ soup event on Nov. 18 will highlight hunger across the nation

“Empty Bowls,” a project which aims to end hunger and food insecurity in America, has been offered at Ripon College for the past five years. The project was started by the nonprofit group Imagine/RENDER, who seek to advocate for positive change. “Empty Bowls” events happen across the nation.

At Ripon College, the project is a collaboration between the art department and the Center for Social Responsibility (CSR). From 5-7 p.m. Nov. 18, students, staff and faculty may come to the Heritage Room of S.N. Pickard Commons and purchase bowls made by the Art 180 class for $10 each. Purchased bowls may be filled with two soups provided by Sodexo. All proceeds from the event go to Ripon’s local food pantry.

David William Scott, Pieper Chair in Servant Leadership and assistant professor of religion, says, “The event was initially organized by Sarah Brown, an AmeriCorps worker in the CSR’s predecessor, the Office of Community Engagement. Sarah was looking to develop ways to incorporate more service learning into the college’s curriculum and had heard about Empty Bowls events elsewhere.”

Brown talked about hunger issues for classes of Associate Professor of Art Mollie Oblinger. “My students enjoy creating the bowls and learning some of the surprising facts about food insecurity in our country,” Oblinger says. “Some students attend the dinner, and others have volunteered to help with it.”

Oblinger’s students each design and make two bowls for the event, using a variety of techniques taught by Oblinger. The bowls then are fired or bisqued a first time, and then fired a second time after students glaze their bowls. Currently, Art 180 students are in the process of glazing each bowl, which will make them safe for food, microwaves and dishwashers.

The “Empty Bowls” event, along with food drives by the Red Hawks athletic department and the Sociology Club, are some of the ways the College is striving to reach out to the Ripon community.

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