Campus Life: Food for Thought

New student group discusses hot issues of the day.  by Greg Ryan ’08

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” anchorman Howard Beale shouted on live television in the 1976 film Network. More than 30 years later, Beale’s tirade against the vapidity of most news media seems downright prophetic. Turn on the news nowadays, and you’re more likely to hear about the latest celebrity rehab stint than what’s happening in Africa or the Middle East.

Inspired to overcome such mediocrity, a group of IC students created a club dedicated to the screening and discussion of news stories that are given short shrift by the corporate media. The group, called Food for Thought, meets Thursday afternoons in an unused lecture hall and provides free lunch to everyone who shows up. “Our goal is to expose people to news stories that aren’t widely reported,” says Mike Amadeo ’10, one of the group’s cofounders. “We want to expose people to news sources they may not have known about.”

The idea for the group took root during a campus screening of a documentary about the Jena Six in October. After students in attendance expressed frustration over the media’s failure to adequately cover the racial controversy in Louisiana, Amadeo, Tatiana Sy ’09, and a small group of attendees decided there should be a venue for discussion of similarly under-covered stories. “People were upset they knew more about Britney or Kanye than the Jena Six,” points out Sy. “We knew it was just a matter of providing the information to them, so we decided to [carve out time and space for this sort of discussion].”

Food for Thought has covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a failed federal children’s health care bill, and the upcoming presidential election, among other issues. The group tries to spotlight ongoing stories.

Between 35 and 40 people attend the discussions in a typical week, Sy says. “Students are so busy,” says Kyra Hickman ’09, a frequent attendee. “This provides a specific time and place where we can talk about the news as a community.”