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Campus Theme

The Compelling Questions We All Face

The Campus Theme program facilitates and coordinates a host of events, lectures, and discussions centered around an enduring and ultimate question of human experience—a fresh question each academic year. Events are open to the general public.

2014–2015 Campus Theme: What Is Food?

Unless otherwise noted, all Campus Theme events will be held in Anderson Chapel on North Park's Chicago campus. Get directions to our campus or download a campus map.

Ericka Elion

Human Rights: Paradigm of Food Justice

Ericka Elion | Saturday, April 18, 9:00 am | Johnson Center 208

How do youth and faith communities engage public leaders through policy interventions and advocacy in order to advance the global struggle for human rights—most specifically food justice? Ericka Elion will lead this 90-minute Campus Theme discussion as part of the Center for Youth Ministry Studies "Food, Public Policy, and Youth Ministry" one-day conference. Ericka's lecture is free for North Park students, faculty, and staff; full-day conference registration is $30.

Elion is a youth and young adult minister with 20 years of combined knowledge in ministry and nonprofit management. She currently attends North Park Theological Seminary, pursuing a dual-master of divinity/master of nonprofit administration degree. In the fall of 2014, she studied policy, ethics and theology with Michael McCurry, former Clinton press secretary, at Wesley Theological Seminary. She was an inaugural fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2013, and also completed a yearlong tenure at Bread for the World as the Evangelical Covenant Church–Covenant World Relief fellow in Washington, DC.

Elion has lobbied numerous times on Capitol Hill on issues revolving around hunger and poverty, and has trained young adults on legislation and lobbying. She writes and lectures extensively on matters of justice and youth ministry, and attributes her early passion for social justice, racial reconciliation, and advocacy—and incorporating the gospel to build bridges across racial, socioeconomic, gender, and age lines—to her years as a member of Trinity United Church of Christ and study with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

Previous Events

Monica Eng

Trick or Treat: The Questions of Food in Chicago

Monica Eng | Friday, October 31

News Release: WBEZ's Monica Eng to Help North Park Explore 'What Is Food?'

Once considered a light subject, today food has become inextricably linked with politics, health, ethics, economics, and the environment. From food deserts and lunchrooms to factory farms and slaughterhouses, our daily food choices reverberate with implications across our community and world. Join Monica Eng as she offers her take on some of the thorniest food issues today and shares what she’s learned from reporting on them.

Having served as both a food and dining writer and a food policy reporter, Ms. Eng has chronicled the rising relevance of the food we eat and the forces that influence it. A reporter and producer at Chicago Public Radio, Ms. Eng co-hosts WBEZ’s weekly food podcast, Chewing the Fat. Prior to joining WBEZ, she covered food, culture, and food policy at the Chicago Tribune for 16 years. Her food writing there was nominated for five James Beard awards.

Bich Minh Nguyen

Are We What We Eat?
Stories of Cultural Identity and Cuisine in America

Bich Minh Nguyen | Thursday, November 6

News Release: Common Read Encourages Reading for Pleasure

Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced Bit Min New-`win) is the author of the novel Short Girls, this year’s North Park University Common Read. Short Girls received the American Book Award and was named one of the Library Journal’s best books of the year. She has appeared on programs such as NewsHour on PBS and All Things Considered on NPR to discuss the themes of immigration, food, and family. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the FOUND Anthology, and the Huffington Post.

Ms. Nguyen was a baby when her family fled Vietnam in 1975. They eventually settled in Michigan, where she grew up. These experiences formed the basis of Ms. Nguyen’s memoir, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which received the PEN/Jerard Fund Award and was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s best books of the year.

Dr. Jackie Berning

Food as Fuel: Eating for Optimal Performance on the Field and in the Classroom

Dr. Jacqueline Berning | Friday, February 20

News Release: Dr. Jacqueline Berning, Professor and Dietitian, to Discuss Food as Fuel

How does what you consume create the energy you need to get through the day? Can you optimize your nutrition to get the results you want in the gym? If you’re an occasional athlete, do you need to eat like an Olympian? North Park University welcomes Dr. Jacqueline Berning to discuss the importance of food as fuel.

Dr. Berning is professor and chair of health sciences at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where her expertise is in sports nutrition, teaching students and athletes how to make wise food choices for increased performance. She works extensively with collegiate athletes at University of Colorado, Boulder, where she has consulted for more than 20 years. Dr. Berning has also served as nutrition consultant for the Denver Broncos, nutrition coordinator for USA Swimming, and sports dietitian for the Cleveland Indians and the Colorado Rockies.

Dr. Berning’s research is primarily in nutritional requirements for sport and exercise. She is the author and editor of several books, including Training Nutrition and Nutrition for Sport and Exercise. She earned her PhD in nutrition at Colorado State University, and is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Board Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and educator, and currently an advisory board member at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.

Dr. Norman Wirzba

Campus Theme Day: Food, Faith, and Our Future on Earth

Wednesday, March 25

News Release: Campus Theme Day Focuses on Food, Faith, and Our Future on Earth

10:30 am — Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, chapel with Dr. Norman Wirzba, professor at Duke University (Anderson Chapel)

3:30 pm — The Ethics and Economics of the Land, a panel discussion on food justice featuring Dr. Wirzba, Ryan Anderson, ecological economist at the Delta Institute, Tim King, former Chief Strategy Officer at Sojourners, and Ericka Elion, former intern at Bread for the World (Anderson Chapel)

6:00 pm — Poverty Banquet with Cynthia Stewart (adjunct youth ministry professor), a unique dinner experience that examines both the diversity and disparity of how the world eats (Hamming Hall)

Dr. Norman Wirzba is a professor of theology and ethics at Duke University. He researches and teaches at the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian and environmental studies. His work focuses on promoting practices that can equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation. Professor Wirzba’s most recent books are Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating and (with Fred Bahnson) Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation.