Campus Connection.

October 7, 2005 Vol. 21 No. 4

Author of "Fast Food Nation" to Speak at Western Nov. 8-9

Fast food has become a staple for the hurried masses throughout the world, a quick answer to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Neatly delivered, wrapped in waxy cellophane and cardboard boxes, meant to be eaten on the fly and then tossed into the nearest trash receptacle.

But what about the “who, what, where, how” of the operation? Who packaged and prepared the meat? What impact does fast food have on the consumer? Where does the burger, the chicken patty, the french fry come from? How does the establishment get the product it serves to millions each day? Those questions and more are a part of Eric Schlosser’s latest book, “Fast Food Nation,” and answers that he will bring to the Western Illinois University campus Nov. 8 and 9.

Schlosser, who has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996, will present “Our Global Challenges and our Personal Responsibilities in a Fast Food Nation” beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Western Hall. His presentation is open free to the public. In addition, Schlosser will meet with student leaders and faculty during his two-day stay at Western and will speak to various classes.

Nearly 2,000 incoming freshmen who are a part of the inaugural First Year Experience (FYE) at Western were sent a copy of “Fast Food Nation” this summer. According to Judi Dallinger, assistant provost for undergraduate studies, the book was selected as a way to introduce students to the university culture and illustrate a few of the many topics that writers, researchers, scientists, community leaders and artists at the university are interested in.

“Students are encouraged to think about the issues that are raised in “Fast Food Nation,” such as food safety, workers’ rights, marketing to children and the obesity epidemic, in relation to what their individual position is in the world and how these issues will affect their future,” said Dan Maxwell, Office of Student Activities director and co-director of the University Theme Committee.

Schlosser’s book gives a historical perspective on the fast food industry, and subsequently wends its way through the sociological, economic and political impacts that the booming fast food industry has caused in the past 50 years, both domestically and internationally. Depicting the tremendous growth and success of the industry, Schlosser reveals how fast food has been a revolutionary force in American life, transforming our diet as well as our economy, workforce and popular culture.

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