Friday, March 5, 2010
Speech on food waste reduction wins college's annual peace oratorical competitionGOSHEN, Ind. – David Zwier, a Goshen College second year business major from the Dominican Republic, won first place with his speech "Facing Food Waste: The Truth About What We Don't Eat" in the college's annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on Feb. 9. He was one of seven Goshen College students from a variety of disciplines who spoke on peace and justice issues during the competition.
Zwier received $500 and the opportunity to compete in the U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. The runner up was Kayla Hooley, a collegiate studies major from Peoria, Ariz., who received $250 for her speech, "Media Influences On Body Image: How The Media Shapes Our Minds And Divides Society."
In his speech, Zwier talked about the causes and consequences of food waste in the United States. He used statistics on the volume of food wasted in this country annually, combined with stories and information about malnutrition and hunger in the developing world to portray food waste as a global injustice.
"Limiting the amount of food you waste only requires one thing: self awareness," said Zwier.
Zwier invoked common household situations as well as statistics to back up his argument that food waste is both rampant and preventable. "Even though we feel guilty about wasting these food scraps, we rationalize it," said Zwier. "The family dog is too fat already, nobody eats the leftovers in the fridge and we don't really throw that much food away, do we?"
A pile of six bulging 50-gallon garbage bags was placed on the stage as a visual representation of the amount of food waste that comes out of the Goshen College cafeteria each day.
Pat McFarIane, associate professor of communication at Goshen College, coordinated this year's contest. "I was delighted with the consistent, strong quality of the speeches this year," she said. "Speakers chose very salient topics related to peace and justice and spoke with energy and passion. I honestly think this competition was the strongest one we have had in a number of years. Speakers set a high standard for next year's contest."
In the second-place speech, Hooley spoke about body image issues that come about, especially in women, because of media exposure to unrealistic beauty standards. She told her own story of struggling to keep herself extremely thin during middle school.
"The media is the problem," she said. "Magazines are basically telling people that the way they look now isn't good enough."
Chagan Sanathu, a sophomore business and communication major from Kolkata, India, talked about women's rights and sex selective abortion in her speech "Birth Announcement: Bad News, It's a Girl."
"The government has criminalized sex selective
abortion," said Sanathu. "The world community needs to
Erin Helmuth, a first-year mathematics major from Elkhart, Ind., talked about education reform in her speech "Leaving No Child Behind: A Moral Imperative." She argued that No Child Left Behind legislation is unfair to schools with non-English speakers, and that the system is flawed in its judgment of "failing schools."
"Despite its achievement, the [No Child Left Behind] law ... has failed," said Helmuth. "Achievement must be measured by progress, not just a benchmark."
Jair Hernandez, a first-year computer science and communication major from Goshen, talked about the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors act in his speech, "Thinking of the DREAM." Hernandez quoted statistics, saying that 65,000 children of undocumented immigrants graduate from American high schools each year, with little or no prospect of going to college. "Why not use their skills to benefit this country?" said Hernandez. "These are students who are not criminals, who have worked hard."
Matt Neumann Nafziger, a first-year accounting major from Goshen, discussed gay rights in his speech, "Certain Inalienable Rights." Nafziger decried the use of hateful slurs for gay people, and argued for gay marriage rights and anti hate-crime legislation. "This is a call for respect. This is a call to stand up to the vernacular speech of hate," said Nafziger.
Rachel Halder, a senior communication major from Parnell, Iowa, discussed prostitution and cycles of abuse in her speech, "Prostitution, Poverty and Violence: An Understanding from Chimbote, Peru."
Halder used personal stories of prostitutes she had met in Peru
during her Study-Service Term experience to explain the systematic
degradation of women by the sex trade.
This year, a private donation from Hans and Bonnie Hillerbrand, former C. Henry Smith competitors, allowed for each contestant to receive a cash prize substantially larger than those of previous years.
The speeches were judged on their adherence to a social justice theme, use of supporting evidence and organization. Also considered were elements of presentation such as vocal variety, eye contact and spiritedness. The trust of C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton (Ohio) colleges, funds the contest, which gives students an opportunity to become involved with the peace cause while cultivating rhetorical skills. Speech contests have been part of Goshen College's history since the early 1900s; the C. Henry Smith contest allows the campus community to hear more about relevant, contemporary issues.
– By Chase Snyder
Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college's Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron's Best Buys in Education, "Colleges of Distinction," "Making a Difference College Guide" and U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition, which named Goshen a "least debt college." Visit www.goshen.edu.