Posts Tagged ‘Steve McLaskey’

Ottumwa Courier photojournalist Rachel Leathe @courierrachel takes a tour of MUM @MaharishiU

March 19, 2016

Rachel Leathe, photojournalist for the Ottumwa Courier called to take a tour of Maharishi University. She had recently transferred to the Courier from Montana and was curious to visit the campus. Click here to see what she put together as it appeared online with 6 photographs from various campus locations. Click here to see 61 more photos at their online photo gallery. And here is a PDF of the article, which took up the back page of the Thursday, March 10, 2016 issue: A tour of MUM.

A tour of MUM

AmineKouider:RachelLeathe:The Courier

Amine Kouider, Science and Technology of Consciousness Instructor, meditates with his class before lunch on Feb. 23, 2016. This is the first class that these David Lynch Master Film students are taking and is also the first class that all students at MUM are required to take. RACHEL LEATHE/ THE COURIER

Walking around the Maharishi University of Management campus in Fairfield, you may imagine you’ve somehow been transplanted to a Buddhist temple or an Indian yoga retreat. You certainly wouldn’t expect to find yourself on a college campus in rural Iowa.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi set up his first university on a small campus in Santa Barbara, CA in 1973. He dreamed of creating a new kind of university, one that not only offered a traditional education but also focused on what he called a “Consciousness-Based education.” One of the main features of this kind of education was Transcendental Meditation.

In 1973 Parsons College went bankrupt due to a myriad of issues including overspending, a sharp drop in enrollment, and a deep deficit. At the same time, Maharishi University was rapidly outgrowing its Santa Barbara campus and looking for a new home. In the summer of 1974, with the help of private benefactors, MUM was able to purchase the former Parsons College campus and move in.

Every new student at MUM is required to first take a class on TM. The class guides students through a seven-step learning process which explains the theory behind TM, the benefits of TM, and teaches students different techniques to help them meditate. Ken Chawkin, Publicist for MUM and TM practitioner for the last 49 years, says that “after meditation, one comes out recharged and more wide awake.” He says this is particularly beneficial to students because it makes them more receptive to what their teacher is saying.

International students make up a little over 75% percent of the MUM student body and on average represent about 85 different countries. MUM offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees, similar to most other US colleges. However unlike most universities, nearly 70% of MUM’s students are pursuing their Master’s degrees.

Another unique aspect of MUM is that it operates on a block system. Instead of taking four or five classes at once, “which is very stressful,” Chawkin says, students “go much more deeply into that particular subject.” They attend this one class Monday through Friday, usually from 10 am to around 3 pm with a break for lunch and two daily meditations. Students are also usually expected to attend an additional Saturday morning class.

MUM campus dining services also sets MUM apart by only serving completely organic, vegetarian food. The kitchen receives a small portion of their food from the campus organic farm ran by Director of MUM Farms, Steve McLaskey, PhD. The rest of the produce they receive is from local organic farmers and from a couple outside providers. Executive Chef, Suresh Miller says that the biggest difficulty with an all organic, vegetarian menu is finding a wide variety of vegetables, “Like you can’t get asparagus in the winter time. Whereas meat you can buy all winter long, no problem.”

One Comment was posted so far by TLGreen:
Great article and gleaning of SE Iowa history. I moved to Fairfield in 2004 to attend MUM from Oregon. I was in a grad program at the [ ] and had no intention of changing schools…and then I came to visit Fairfield. I was so impressed by the level of regard to education, for students well being and for the commitment to organic food and lifestyle that my life was forever changed. I loved my experiences and studies at MUM – I was able to be that curious, motivated and engaged student that I longed to be, but struggled with the intense pressures of a traditional & unhealthy grad program.

See Rachel’s photo essay on the March Fairfield 1st Friday’s Art Walk.

Related: ABC News reports on Maharishi University in Iowa.

KTVO’s Kate Allt: From the earth to your plate; one university’s lesson in sustainable agriculture

May 25, 2012

From the earth to your plate; one university’s lesson in sustainable agriculture

By Kate Allt

Friday, May 25, 2012

Greenhouses at Maharishi University KTVO’s Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — The cafeteria at Maharishi University is like no other dining hall on any campus in the country. Every meal is vegetarian and organic, and many of the ingredients are grown right on campus by students and staff.

Ayurvedic food preparation, which pays particular attention to seasonal foods, is a growing trend and the roots of the movement are planted in the greenhouses at Maharishi University.

“This greenhouse has been here since 2004; we put it up,” said Steve McLaskey, Director of the Maharishi organic farm. “The university had been organic – the food service had been organic for quite a number of years before that and then in 2003, they decided to take the next step and grow as much of their own food as possible.”

Maharishi’s greenhouse is the first of its size to grow crops year-round in a cold climate. The students and staff who work with the plants have learned much more than identifying a cucumber from a zucchini.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of growing good produce and providing it to the university,” McLaskey said. “We also sell at the Golden Dome market, the little market on campus, and at the farmer’s market, and I get a lot of comments from customers who appreciate the quality, the freshness.

“When we’re eating good food, then the action that happens from putting good things in is more directed and its more focused,” said Molly Haviland, a MUM student. “So it goes along with the principle of do less, accomplish more.”

James Gavin, a worker at the greenhouse, said he has learned so much from working at the greenhouse and it has improved his quality of life.

“This greenhouse is a real opportunity for all of us… and for the county, I think,” he said.

“I really encourage everyone to grow their own garden and to look up alternative methods of making sure everything is natural, no chemicals, and everything like that,” said student Sultan Salah. “So I would say the experience of working with fresh vegetables is probably the best experience.”

“We grow some of the tastiest vegetables there are,” said Edward Hipp, another greenhouse worker. “When its fresh off the plant, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Then – fresh off the plant – the food goes to the Maharishi kitchens, where vegetarian, organic recipes and Ayurvedic methods are utilized.

“We’re trying to keep all the Ayurvedic guidelines in touch with the recipes so that it still tastes really good for everybody,” said Sharon Stinogel, Maharishi Executive Chef. “So it’s kind of a challenge, but it’s fun.”

“Since we’ve arrived here at Maharishi, we’ve shared the fact that organic and vegetarian is out there,” said Ken Zimmerman, food service director at Aladdin Food Management Services. “There’s a lot of our accounts that do offer organic vegetarian but not on a wide range like we do here in Fairfield.”

The cafeteria serves 800 to 1,000 people a day and after the meal, the leftover food is collected to be turned into compost, completing the cycle back to the earth.

1 comment:

Sharalyn Pliler · Maharishi University of Management

In my book, THE RELUCTANT VEGETARIAN, I make the point that it’s ever more important to eat organic than it is to be a vegetarian, but at the MUM cafeteria, where I love to go to eat, we can have it all. Good food, safe food, and good company. :-) I love MUM!

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