The Chester Ronning Centre has announced another Spirit of the Land class this fall, open to students as well as community members. The Roads Scholar course, which “seeks to explore our connections between ecology, economy, community, and spirituality” runs on Thursday evening from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm and is taught by Dittmar Mundel, with support from Raj Rathnavalu and many other community members. The first lecture was on September first, but community members are welcome to attend whenever they’re able, with the next class held on September 15th, continuing weekly until early December.
As a Roads Scholar course, participants will be taken on the road to both rural and urban areas in order to explore positive alternatives to environmentally exploitative ways of living. Some of the planned destinations include Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Maskwacis, and Coen’s Grass Roots Family Farm. Each class also begins with a local, homemade meal, made by groups of students as part of their assignments. Community members can donate food or ingredients to the meals, which will be kept as local as possible. The last class will be in the form of a community potluck, where each community member will be asked to bring a dish to share.
There are currently 19 students enrolled in the course, and between 20-25 community members each week. Community members will participate by doing the readings but are not asked to do the assignments, and can attend for a $150 fee, or pay-as-you-can. This exciting opportunity seeks to bring both students and community members together for engaged and contemplative learning in a unique and interesting way. Students taking this course are also responsible for organizing a fall conference which will be hosted from November 4th to 6th, with the theme of “Reconciling Land, Life, and Livelihood”. More details on registration for the conference will be provided soon, and if you’re interested in attending the Spirit of the Land course as a community member, or would like more information, email Carley at email@example.com.
As a course that not only offers a chance to use a pedagogy of hope to build ecological and spiritual health, includes locally grown food and hands-on experience through a number of field trips, and that fosters the integration of our students on campus and community members, Spirit of the Land is yet another example of the unique opportunities available here at Augustana.