How can you bring together the campus community while honoring the tradition of Catholic Basilian hospitality? The idea took a bit of kneading, but before long, Assistant Resident Director Lynn Wales and Campus Ministry had cooked up a plan.
It all started as a conversation in Residence Life over how to celebrate—and learn about—the many diverse cultures that come together at Manor College. Bread baking was an idea that gained traction thanks to its versatility—students can learn to make everything from Ukrainian Easter bread, to Indian naan. And with the help of CulinArt staff, it’s an activity that takes place right in the heart of campus—the dining hall.
Wales noted that the most rewarding part of the experience might be the interactions students have not only with each other, but with staff and faculty as well. “You’re making bread next to someone you’ve never met before, asking questions and measuring out ingredients. While it takes a lot of planning and effort to make this event happen, it’s worth it for the moments of joy it creates on campus,” she explained. “It’s everyone coming together, and working together.”
“It’s everyone coming together,
and working together.”
Not only have students been learning about different cultures, but they’ve also been catching on to an even simpler lesson—how to cook. Developing healthy eating awareness is a focus of Residence Life, and many students have never baked bread before.
“Students are asking questions and learning hands-on skills,” said Chrystyna Prokopovych, curator of the Ukrainian Heritage Museum. Prokopovych donates her time and expertise, helping to lead Ukrainian-themed bread bakings. “Ukrainian culture revolves around bread,” she explained. “Ukraine has long been known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Europe.”
Visitors to campus may have noted that an outdoor brick bread oven, used by the founding nuns, sits between Manor College and the Sisters of St. Basil the Great spirituality center. The Basilian bread team hopes that the oven can one day be repaired and used again with students—further cementing the ties to the school’s roots and Ukrainian heritage.
So far, student participation has been high. “We’re seeing students come back each time, and it’s definitely a growing tradition,” said Prokopovych. “Ideally, one day the students may lead this activity themselves, teaching us
about their cultural traditions—and I think that will definitely happen.”