Diversity celebrated with Soup & Stories program

The popular Soup & Stories series, sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR), wrapped up this year’s programming with a presentation titled “Tug of War: Balancing Black Identity in College and in the Black Community.”

Students, faculty, and staff filled the Pierson Rooms during the lunch hour to enjoy some soup and listen to graduating seniors Nelson Dorvlo, Eric Oliver, and Tanner Senter share their personal stories about their journey to Lake Forest College, their experiences in college, and their plans for the future. “I think Soup & Stories is a great way to learn a lot from someone in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily get in a regular conversation,” says Nelson Dorvlo. “It was a great experience, and I felt honored to be asked to share my story.” 

The Soup & Stories program was launched in the fall of 2005 as a way to provide intercultural learning opportunities for the campus community. “We are a tight-knit and diverse campus community, and this program is a way to provide a deeper understanding and awareness of the many social and cultural identities that make up our community,” says Erin Hoffman, director of intercultural relations. “Presenting at Soup & Stories is a way to let students know that the college experience is bigger than the individual,” commented Eric Oliver. 

Each year, the OIR coordinates between six and eight presentations intentionally choosing a broad range of stories and topics that highlight the College’s diversity in areas such as cultural ethnicity and traditions, religion, disabilities, gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and other topics. Presenters share their personal journeys in a casual and supportive environment. “We’ve gotten such positive feedback from students, faculty, and staff about how these presentations have broadened their perspectives as well as strengthened their sense of community here at Lake Forest,” says Farida Adam, program director for intercultural relations.

There have been over 40 presentations since Soup & Stories began with titles including, “Why Does She Cover So Much?” “Perspectives from Palestine,” “Crossing the Border,” “Reflections on Apartheid South Africa,” “Living in Sudan and the transition to the United States,” “Coming Out and Life with a Disability,” “Life through the Eyes of a Bosnian-Muslim Refugee,” “Owning My Bicultural Identity,” “See the Ability, Not the Disability,” “Celebrating Judaism in our Community,” “Celebrating Diwali – The Festival of Lights,” “Free Cheese, Powdered Milk: The Girl with the Different Lunch Ticket,” “Gender in Islam: One Woman’s Story,” “Team diversity working towards a common GOAL!” and many others. 

For more information about programs sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Relations visit www.lakeforest.edu/studentlife/intercultural.