University of Denver hosts the 2023 Langar@DU: A Student Organized Community Event

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The University of Denver, located in the heart of the picturesque city of Denver, is known for its rich history, outstanding academics, and vibrant campus community. Langar@DU, an inclusive feast for any and all communities, has become a cherished student-organized community event for the past two years. It fosters inclusivity, connection, and a sense of belonging among students, faculty, staff, community partners, Colorado Sikhs, neighbors, alumni, and friends.

It’s almost time for the community event of the year! On May 20th from 11:00am-2:00pm, the University of Denver is hosting the 2023 Langar@DU. The event is held on the Campus Green, outside of Sturm Hall. It is in a central location on campus and features a festive atmosphere with games and activities, music, and a warm, welcoming ambiance. The students have worked hard to ensure the event is accessible for all abilities and sustainable for the planet.

Langar, which originated in the 15th century in Punjab, India, is a tradition upheld by Sikhs as a way to promote equality, humility, and selfless service. In the Sikh community, Langar is a community kitchen where free vegetarian meals are served to all, regardless of their socio-economic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or ability. It is a powerful symbol of compassion and generosity. The values of Langar, which emphasize selflessness, humility, and inclusivity, have transcended cultural and religious boundaries, and have found resonance in diverse communities around the world, including at the University of Denver.

At the University of Denver, Langar@DU is organized by COMN 2040 students and Adjunct Professor Marji Karish alongside Mr. Dilpreet Jammu, Executive Director of the Colorado Sikhs, and Dr. Chase McNamee. Sr. Project Manager, Community + Values initiative at the University of Denver. Their aim is to promote community building through the act of holding the Langar@DU. Mr. Jammu explains the Langar as a space for, “compassion, acceptance, hospitality, and simply welcoming your fellow human beings, your fellow students from wherever they may be” (Jammu, 2023). The Langar@DU, which takes place once a year, brings together students, faculty, staff, alumni, contractors, community leaders, and the nearby community from all walks of life to share a meal and connect with one another.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Langar@DU is its ability to bring people from different backgrounds and disciplines together. A student in the course, Evan Wein, states, “My experience in this class has been very unique and special seeing all of the different people come together for a common cause/values. The inclusive and welcoming environment we have been able to create is truly amazing”. The spirit of inclusivity and community that is at the heart of Langar is evident in the interactions and conversations that take place during the event. Students from different majors and schools engage in lively discussions, faculty members exchange ideas, and staff members connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding that transcends the boundaries of disciplines, departments, and roles. As Dr. Chase McNamee shared, "We are incredibly excited to be partnering with the Colorado Sikhs and DU students again this year! To see everyone come together to plan this experience centered around belonging and community is so powerful. It truly embodies the 4-Dimensional experiential education DU strives for focused on making an impact and the public good of higher education."

"The biggest part in my mind is the opportunity to meet with people who may not be in your own department, your own school, your own whatever," says Dilpreet Jammu from the Colorado Sikhs. The Langar@DU provides a unique platform for students to expand their social circles, network with individuals from diverse fields of study, and learn from one another's experiences and perspectives. It is a space where students can make meaningful connections with their peers, faculty, and staff, creating a sense of community that extends beyond the classroom. The students themselves have worked with campus organizations to source local, organic, and sustainable food to help minimize waste, as well as working with off-campus nonprofits to donate any leftover food, extending the values of the Langar further into the community.Student Reflections:

  •     “It's been a pleasure contributing to this class and I'm so excited to see the finished product, as it will be bringing many different communities together in one place” - Tommy Bruner
  • “The lessons and values I have gained from this classroom experience are incomparable to other courses. Facilitating spaces for community and connection is an amazing opportunity I am grateful to have.” - Emily Lewis
  • “Learning about Langar and its values of inclusivity, community, and teamwork has been incredible. Working together in collaboration with the Colorado Sikhs has made this process fun and efficient. I can’t wait to see the final product of this amazing event.” - Abby Morgan
  • “Having a student-led event is going to be a great experience. I am excited to be a part of this collaborative system with the student body at The University of Denver, and the Colorado Sikhs!” - Charlie West
  • “Planning this event with the rest of my classmates and everyone involved has been such anamazing and fun experience. I can't wait for all of our hard work to come to life and watch the event create joy and connection on our campus.” - Rosie Casali
  • “I was genuinely surprised by how much I have been enjoying this class. It’s a great way to work with the DU community to put together an inclusive event for everyone. I can’t wait for the official Langar and I am proud of my accomplishments in the class so far.” - Nick Freudenwald
  • “This class has allowed me to connect with new people and learn new things about DU. I am really appreciative of this opportunity and want to help out as much as I can.” - Jackson Donahue
  • “My experience in this class has been very unique and special seeing all of the different people come together for a common cause/values. The inclusive and welcoming environment we have been able to create is truly amazing” - Evan Wein

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Emily Lewis

Marji Karish