Through Undergraduate Research and Senior Comps Projects, students at Occidental have been able to pursue their own research on food related topics. Clubs and funds also allow for students to get involved with with the food discussion.
With over 100 student clubs and organizations at Occidental, there are a number of food related clubs. Baking Club, Beekeepers of Oxy, Challah for Hunger, Ethical Consumerism of Coffee, FEAST, Veg Club, and WellFed all allow students to get involved by participating in the student gardening, discussing the importance of local produce, or trying their hand at cooking. Students also have the opportunity to start their own club and may be able to recieve funding from the Renewable Energy & Sustainability Fund for speakers and supplies.
In the fall of 2011, Occidental's Food Justice House was founded, allowing 7-8 students to live together in a close community, discuss food practices, tend their own garden, and implement good food practices in their daily life. In addition to pursing food justice in daily life, students also host events, participate in the surrounding community, and update a blog about what's happening in the house, around Los Angeles, and other interests.
Through Undergraduate Research, Occidental students have been pursuing their own greater understanding on food related issues. While students have written theses on diverse topics over the years, the following are a few examples of recent research. In 2010, Michael Fox researched Los Angeles's Summer Food Service Program to evaluate its health impact on the children who were participating. Deborah Chun has been conducting research over the last two summers on perception and taste, including a study on what effect color has on food in 2010. An evaluation of soundscape and fine dining in New York City by Lauren Bunnell analyzed how sound in restaurants effect a patron's eating experience. Looking at culture and food, Kryshawn Hooks compared how Ethiopian cuisine is consumed in differently in Los Angeles and Ethiopia. Between the social justice, scientific, and theoretical aspects of food consumption, students at Oxy have begun their own discussions about food.
Student's projects in their Senior years have also provided an area for students to further pursue their understanding of food and its relation to many different areas of studies. Senior Comps projects relating to food have been written in the Art History Visual Arts, Sociology, Religious Studies, Cognitive Science, and Urban and Environmental Studies departments. A wide range of topics have also been explored, from Beyond Cravings: Gender and Class Desires in Chocolate Marketing by Jamal Fahim, 2010, about the marketing of chocolate to consumers, to Health Care and Healthy Food: An Examination of Sustainable Food Purchasing Practices in U.S. Hospitals, by Tyler Morgan, 2012. Occidental students of many different studies have chosen to examine the diverse aspects of food.