On Saturday at the Eggplant Manor, an open forum was held to discuss the future of the Colorado College Community Kitchen. Situating themselves behind the Manor, students, alumni, and administrators met to share their views and best guesses as to what change will come. The setting was idyllic; we sat in the backyard with sun, beer, dogs, and the good feelings that come with sunny Saturdays. While frustrations were evident, the people involved did their utmost to make the conversation constructive and move beyond the anger caused by the original decision making process.
Recently, students Shane Lory and Jeremy Flood took it upon themselves to talk with President Tiefenthaler in the hopes of shining a light on a process that has been unclear at best. Although the nature of the discussion is unknown, the outcome was a verbal agreement that the Community Kitchen can remain on campus so long as it is not in Shove Chapel. While the Speak Out protest group considers this is a major step in the right direction, many consider this to be a mere first step towards a newly revitalized Community Kitchen.
Addison Quin Petti, an organizer at the Collaborative for Community Engagement here at CC, presented one possible, if ambitious, idea for the future of the Community Kitchen. Addison is ready to move beyond the charming, small-scale Kitchen. To do so, hy hopes to utilize the $20,000 provided by the school to address homelessness and hunger to expand the Kitchen’s focus beyond Sunday meals in the hopes of addressing a wider variety of problems homelessness creates. Addison is also toying with the idea of moving the Community Kitchen completely off campus, but, as of now, nothing has been decided.
Although the turnout was substantial, the attendees of this backyard gathering represent only a small fraction of the overall interest in this issue. There is no lack of personal (and possible monetary) investment in the future of the Community Kitchen, which is no surprise considering its 22-year tenure serving Colorado College and the greater Colorado Springs community. The impressive level of interest this issue garnered has caused the administration to positively reevaluate the Kitchen’s importance.
The ongoing Kitchen debates are becoming more and more productive. It seems as though students have, for the most part, set aside their gripes with the perceived inadequacies of the administration and, with President Teifenthaler’s new agreement, the administration itself has redacted any implied discomfort with the homeless community coming onto our “open” campus.
Although there are a variety of perspectives on what the future Kitchen will look like, those involved in the protests have made its importance clear. This upcoming Sunday, Oct. 19, there will be another conversation intended to bring the discussion to the people this program serves. It will be held at the Community Kitchen itself.
With hundreds of signatures and comments on an online petition, there is no question that CC’s Community Kitchen has had an impressive impact on the student body. The Community Kitchen is here to stay and, while that is true, student rallies and discussions can also distract from the beautiful simplicity of the Sunday meal. As such, in the midst of talks of expansion and location change, many wonder why, if this Kitchen is all the community asks for, does it have to change at all?