Students and scholars engage in deep discussions over dinner

by Steve Vaynshtok

Food, physics and a fervent atmosphere filled with fresh-faced students and seasoned alumni of FIU were present at Food 4 Talk. The event, sponsored by the Honors College on Feb. 18, brought together a very colorful crowd of patrons for a night of spirited discussions and debates.

As the doors opened at 6:30 at the Wolfe University Center Ball Room, the guests started piling in, including scholars  from Daniel Alvarez, who received his Master’s  degree from Harvard  and whose topic was “Celibacy and the Church”  to John Bailly; who has received a Master’s degree in fine arts from Yale.

The event had begun casually with guests coming in and taking their seats, then each speaker sat down at a table to eat and converse with guests.

I ended up at a table with Dr. Frederick Blevens, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and is currently a journalism professor at FIU. His topic was “The Media; How They Know What They Know.”

A rousing conversation ensued complete with conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the current state of media framing along with propaganda. Blevens continued to elaborate about the media and how branding is a product-inspired marketing technique to market the make of any product rather than the product itself. Once the conversation ended I had the chance to approach Blevens and get his opinion on this event.

“It is something that should be happening between professors and students as is,” said Blevens. “I do not see anything different in my opinion on the matter than a professor here might have, it differs only in perspective of who is speaking.”

Blevens and I went on to have a rousing conversation about the current affairs of music and how it is shaping the media.

“Independent labels are the new Mecca of the industry, that and giving music away for free,” said Blevens. “Extensive touring is all bands have left, that and merchandising. Then again, no one wants to end up like KISS.”

Jack Parker, Ph.D. from the University of Berkeley also had positive remarks towards his discussion.

“It was great, very interesting questions.” said Parker. “We deviated from the topic a few times, getting into things like the music and arts programs at Berkley, but I managed to find my way back on the road less traveled: good old fashioned chemistry.”

After a night of rousing topics I was not the only person leaving with a smug grin on my face, and a few cool new words in my vocabulary. Many other faculty members and students left feeling just as accomplished as me.

Alex S. who refused to give his full name, is a sophomore journalism major who appreciated the casual setting of this event. “It’s really great that something like this is available to us as students here. These are really educated people who we can just sit there and shoot the breeze with. It is really educational, but covertly, rather than ‘in-your-face,’ time to learn.”

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