Advocating in the Classroom
During the recent spring and summer semesters I found some unique ways to bring food allergy advocacy into my classes. I was able to incorporate food allergy awareness and information into projects and assignments that were then shared with not only the professors, but with entire classes.
Last spring I took a small business planning and finance class. We had to create our own imaginary small businesses, write a business plan and then present our plan to the class. I have written and presented a couple of different business plans throughout my time in college so far. This specific business plan presentation was unique because I had a lot of time to really go through all the details of my imaginary business and explain why being able to provide safe snacks to those with food allergies would be so important.
I also took Introduction to Botany last spring, which was all about plants. We did one project where we planted a couple of different plants to watch their roots grow. One of these plants were peas, which is one of my allergens. I was careful to not have to be the one to plant the peas as I didn't want to risk anything by touching the seeds.
In Botany we also each had to do an ethnobotany research project and presentation on a different plant. We each got to choose our own plant and explain how it is produced, sold and what impact and importance it has on society. I chose to do the peanut. Which is ironic because it's the allergen I am most allergic to.
So I researched everything there was to know about the peanut. I learned how it's grown, processed, packaged, shipped and stored. I learned about the various market forms and different peanut products available. I also provided a list of all the different kinds of foods that contain peanuts. And then when it came to the part about the impact it has on society I provided information about peanut allergies.
Then this summer I took a speech class and my informative speech was all about food allergies. I really enjoy researching, writing and speaking about food allergies.
In all three of these classes my assignments did not have to be related to food allergies, but I found ways to connect them to food allergies and as a result I was able to be an advocate.