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More than a meal

| Olivia Jonasen and Sydney Schoeberle

Have you ever wanted to learn more about interesting topics [AND] get free food? The University Honors Program’s Meals with Honors series allows you to do just that! Once a week, a professor, faculty member, or student from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire shares information on a wide range of topics—from the environment, to political science, to graphic design.

The Meals with Honors program is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. Each Meal with Honors is free to attend and is open to anyone in the University Honors Program. Attending a meal is a great way to meet new professors, expand your knowledge on interesting topics that professors are passionate about, and get to know fellow Honors students.

This past November, Professor Harry Jol presented at a Breakfast with Honors.  Jol explained how his UW-Eau Claire student research team used non-invasive ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in Lithuania to discover evidence of escape tunnels used during World War II from the Ponar Killing Camp. Honors students attending the meal got to learn about this famous prisoner escape tunnel, and the rest of this incredible project before the work is even published in NOVA in April.

From Lithuania to Berlin, Meals with Honors covers local to global subjects. Professor Teresa Sanislo analyzed how travel guides, museums, and guided tours in Berlin, Germany can purposely highlight certain historical events and leave other important information out of the picture at her Meal with Honors presentation this past November. Those who attended learned about gender and the landscape of memory in Berlin, and strategies for including alternative historical narratives and sites in study tours of the city.

Beyond lectures, Meals with Honors gives students applicable knowledge to change the world. In February, Professor Christos Theo addressed the capabilities of artists to use their talents to start conversations about key social issues. Theo referenced his own graphic design work to reveal how designers must “walk a fine line” when creating art to ensure their work facilitates conversations and does not force specific opinions and viewpoints on the observer.  Sparking conversation on the design process from ideation to implementation, Theo’s Meal with Honors is a perfect example of the interesting topics the series seeks to promote.

These are a small sampling of the variety of topics discussed during Meals with Honors presentations, and there is still so much more to uncover this semester. Want to check out a Meal with Honors? It’s easy to sign up—watch your inbox for emails from the University Honors Program and check out the Events tab under Honors. Then select a meal that sounds interesting and RSVP at to save a spot! A fresh slice of pizza and a fascinating discussion awaits you.