Free food, good conversation and a sense of community, is what students enjoy at the U of C Simple Supper.
The Simple Supper is a place where students can share, talk, and eat in a safe,non-judgmental space.
The supper occurs every Wednesday at the Faith and Spirituality Centre in MacEwan Hall at the U of C.
The Anglican Campus Ministry, the University of Calgary Lutheran Community, and YYC Campus Ministry organize the Simple Supper.
Robert Massey, the communications and management director of YYC Campus Ministry, helps organize the simple supper.
“The intent is to create community among students,” said Massey, a graduate of the SAIT Journalism program.
The students feel so comfortable as a community that after the meal, a number of them stay around and talk for hours on end.
“We have to kick them out because they never want to leave,” said Massey.
Although the simple supper is affiliated with religious organizations, they do not preach to students, just invite them to eat and take a break.
YYC Campus Ministry, which serves Calgary’s three biggest post-secondary institutes, SAIT, U of C, and MRU, is focused on making its facilities places where students can come, share and feel safe.
Naturally, there is conversation at the supper. At the beginning of each meal, the students choose a topic by suggesting topics, and voting on them.
Tim Nethercott, a chaplain with the campus ministry, begins the conversation to show that it’s all right for others to speak up and join in.
“I try very hard to do things that are inclusive, that can involve anybody,” Nethercott said.
The idea is that students have a deeper conversation about what’s going on in their lives.
Many students have stressful lives with assignments, family and possibly work to balance, and are encouraged to bring friends, even if they are not students at the U of C.
Students find the simple supper through a combination of Facebook, word-of-mouth, and a U of C system called Level Up, which awards students with “experience points,” like a real-life video game.
Inclusivity doesn’t apply just to students being invited, it is also in the food, as there are vegan and gluten-free options.
YYC Campus Ministry has also organized drum circles at SAIT and MRU. At SAIT, it meets in the Interfaith Centre, on the second floor of the Stan Grad Building.