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Find Your Center: Nourishment for the Body and Mind

Student Center food literacy and wellness fellows help students relax, unwind, and connect

Latané Bullock is passionate about food. As the food literacy fellow for the Student Center at the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS), the PhD candidate in speech and hearing biosciences channels that passion by creating programming that enables fellow students to experience the taste of home cooking, try new cuisine, and make better food choices by consuming the produce of local sustainable providers. Bullock says he wants students to think about what they eat on a deeper level than just meal prepping or debating where to get the best Mexican food in Boston. 

“Food is the fabric of community for most cultures,” he says. “I want to create food experiences that spark joy and maybe even conjure up memories of home.” 

During this stressful time in the world—and on campus—Bullock and his partners, the Student Center wellness fellows, work to help students relax, unwind, and connect. Along the way, they also hope to enable members of the Harvard Griffin GSAS community to make environmentally responsible choices, boost overall health, and leave the Boston area a better place than they found it. 

Student Center food literacy fellow Latane Bullock and wellness fellows Grace Chaves and Andrew Byun
Student Center food literacy fellow Latane Bullock and wellness fellows Grace Chaves and Andrew Byun
Tony Rinaldo

Brightening the Bleak Midwinter

Bullock was encouraged by close friends and former fellows to get involved at the Student Center. He decided to become a fellow to share his love of food and his commitment to sustainability with other students. “Food systems are incredibly important as they account for a large portion of resources,” he says. “Knowing how personal choices and systemic structures can contribute to a better future is important to me.” 

To create engaging programs, Bullock often teams up with the Student Center’s wellness fellows. Established by the Center in response to feedback from students, wellness fellows help their peers find balance and well-being among the competing priorities of academics and personal life. 

I want to create food experiences that spark joy and maybe even conjure up memories of home.
—Latané Bullock 

Student Center Wellness Fellow Grace Chaves also has a passion for food and sees it as a key part of overall wellness. That’s why in her first month in the position, she ran an authentic empanada-making class. “Being a newer program area, we have the unique opportunity to tailor our events to the specific needs and interests of students,” she says. “So, we offer a mix of opportunities, from cooking classes to meditation to pottery painting.”

Last month, the wellness and food literacy fellows collaborated with the Center’s arts fellows for an event that brought students together to eat, create, and connect on a cold, potentially dispiriting mid-January day. During Roll With It: Crafting Your Own Sushi, the smell of freshly cooked rice wafted through the air of a kitchen in Perkins Hall, one of the four on-campus residences at Harvard Griffin GSAS. Students gathered in groups around tables preparing fish, rolling up seaweed, and applying delicate touches of wasabi to their creations. Some efforts unraveled in their maker’s hands, while others succeeded. In both cases, laughter filled the room.  

“It made me really happy to see my peers enjoying the creative process of sushi making,” says Bullock. “I hope people feel empowered to take the sushi idea and recreate it at home—it's so easy, interactive, and affordable! I was glad to have pushed forward with the event because January can be a lonely time!”

Wellness Work

Like Bullock, Chaves is studying for her PhD in speech and hearing biosciences and is keen to help students with the holistic side of wellness. “We work to foster wellness across multiple dimensions, including personal, physical, spiritual, social, and financial well-being,” she says. Wellness Fellow Andrew Byun, Chaves’ colleague, knows better than most the benefits of this type of self-care. A PhD candidate in bioengineering who studies computational neuroscience and psychiatry, Byun organized the fall term’s Wellness Walk and Wheels event, which enabled students to shake off the early academic year jitters with a stroll—or roll—along the Charles River. 

“This was the first wellness programming area event of the year, and we were excited to see grad students of all years come out to relax and get ready to start the term,” he says. “I think we shared some conversations about how to cope with graduate school stress and how being mindful of taking time off—such as through Center events—can be helpful.”

This year, the wellness fellows are highlighting the resources of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of impacted individuals and their caregivers. They also partner with the Student Center’s public service fellows to help students bond with each other and give back to the community Harvard calls home.

In the months ahead, Bullock looks forward to hosting a tea ceremony at Harvard’s Memorial Church and leading his fellow students on a trip to the Daily Table, a nonprofit grocery store in Central Square dedicated to providing fresh, affordable, tasty, and convenient food. Similarly, Byun and Chaves are looking forward to hosting an upcoming table tennis tournament with the athletics and public service fellows. The Student Center’s wellness team also invites students to glide around Somerville’s Veterans Memorial Rink at the Winter Ice Skate event and get their Zen on at a spring meditation series led by Buddhist monk Gen Khedrub. 

Food and wellness go hand-in-hand, and the Center fellows are committed to supporting students with both. So, whether you enjoy the creativity of cooking, the physical and mental benefits of eating something healthy and delicious, or the way that preparing and sharing a meal can celebrate community and culture, be sure to check Engage regularly for food literacy and wellness programming—and then join the fun!

Do you want to suggest an event for the Student Center fellows? Contact the wellness fellows at and the food literacy fellows at

Interested in becoming a fellow? The Student Center is currently recruiting the 2024-2025 team. Learn more and apply on Engage.

Want to learn more about your Student Center? Contact the staff at or give them a call at 617-495-2255. They would love to hear from you!

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