By Carly Donsbach
College Station, Texas- Texas A&M University teamed up with three different schools across the country to create a different classroom experience for graduate students.
A USDA Higher Education Challenge grant helped develop a new, multi-disciplinary course called The Nexus of Food & Nutritional Security, Sustainability, and Hunger. The program uses video conferencing to connect Texas A&M with Ohio State University, Purdue University and Texas A&M Kingsville.
“We get to see the different perspectives of other campuses and really see what’s going on outside of our own school,” said Justin Buenger, a Texas A&M graduate student from Belville.
Texas A&M was chosen to lead this new course due to the recent success of two other courses funded by USDA-Challenge grants. Dr. Bhimu Patil, lead instructor in the course and principal investigator of the USDA grant, has shown that providing information from practical experiences of experts in the field rather than from a textbook is key to educating these students.
The classes are unlike any other because they use high impact learning experiences while connecting with students outside of Texas. Through discussion, students learn to work with organizations in their own communities that help and assist with insecure food areas.
“The course gets us out of the classroom and working, hands-on, in the field, with students from other majors,” said Pratibha Acharya, a graduate student from Pokhara, Nepal.
The purpose of the class is to teach these students about food insecurity and how to implement healthy living within their communities.
“Students are usually not aware of the problems with food insecurity in the world around them,” said Dr. Patil. “The class really opens their eyes to those problems in the United States.”
The series of classes are offered in the Fall semester every two years with Dr. Patil. For more information on the classes or how to sign up, visit https://agrilife.org/fnhs/.