J-Term Offers Chance to Focus On One Course

More Than 60 Students Participate in January Term This Year

Hartford, CT, January 20, 2015 – The 12 students in the “Nutrition: Food and Fads” class spent most of their January Term course time at Clement Hall, in the classroom and lab, exploring various aspects of nutrition and the science of food. Their reading included Food Rules by Michael Pollan. They watched the movie “Fed Up,” discussed popular diets, including Atkins (low carb) and Paleo (caveman style), and worked to design their own diet plans based on their own needs, philosophy, preferences, health history, and family and cultural history.

For one of their favorite sessions, the class gathered at the Zachs Hillel House to tuck into a delicious vegan luncheon prepared by their professor, Alison Draper, director of the Science Center and the Interdisciplinary Science Program. As Draper described the whole-food, plant-based menu, students crowded around for a closer look at the  dishes they would sample: Quick-as-Lightning Chili; roasted potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper; Thai Crunch Quinoa Salad; and tossed greens.

Students said different factors motivated them to take the nutrition course. Ji Yun Lee ’17 (pictured at left) chose the class because it is a prerequisite for nursing school, which she is considering attending after Trinity. Winston Brewer ’17 (at right), a member of Trinity’s wrestling team, sought to clarify healthy eating
habits, which he noted are important for a wrestler who needs to stay within a particular weight class. Brewer said he learned that “sugar is poison,” as well as why fiber is important for a healthy diet. “You learn enough to make new choices,” added Osarumese Okoh ’15 (below left), who now plans to choose brown rice more often than the white rice he has typically eaten in the past.

At the end of the meal, the students consulted smart phones to determine the nutritional value of everything they had consumed. The ratio of carbohydrates (60 percent) to protein (20 percent) to fat (20 percent) was within the recommended range. Surprisingly, the calorie count was only about 450 calories per person. And when Draper asked the students to guess at the per-serving cost of the ingredients, they were impressed to learn it came to only $3.50 per person for the meal. As the class session came to a close, discussion centered on whether the leftovers would be plentiful enough to have for lunch the next day.

This was the second year of Trinity’s January Term, part of a three-year pilot program allowing students to enroll in a half-credit course. Classes typically met over 20 hours, between January 5 and 16, on and off campus. More than 60 students completed J-Term classes this year--an increase of more than 35 percent from last year. In addition to the nutrition course, J-Term subjects were “Contemporary Issues in Hip-Hop Culture,” “Downton Abbey in Historical Context,” “Envisioning Yourself as a Leader,” “Music in the 1960s,” “The Godfather: The Art of Hard Choices,” and “Writing and Mindfulness.”

 View more photos from the Nutrition: Food and Fads class gathering at the Zachs Hillel House.