Students Craft Chopsticks from Campus Trees

January 27, 2017

Students lined up on the first floor of the Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center Thursday evening, patiently waiting their turn to make a personal set of reusable chopsticks from wood harvested to make way for the new Humanities and Social Studies Complex.

“This is a great way to recycle wood from campus into something I can keep with me,” said Evan Feldberg-Bannatyne ’20, as he used a hand plane to smooth one of the four sides of one of his chopsticks.

“Plus,” he added, “my roommate is from Shanghai and he promised to help me master the art of eating with chopsticks.”

“This is a fun way to promote Asian culture,” said Rong Guo ’19 of China. “I like watching how the chopsticks are made. I use them, but I never knew how to make them.”

While waiting for their turn at one of the four jigs, some students competed to see who could use chopsticks to transfer the most marbles from one bowl to another in 1 minute. Scores ranged from 0 to the winning total of 25.

No previous woodworking skills were needed, but it took most students from 15 to 20 minutes to use a special jig and planer to transform two slender sticks of walnut or sycamore into a smooth pair of chopsticks.

“I was impressed that so many students were willing to wait in line to make their chopsticks,” said Karen Edwards, associate dean and director of International Student Affairs. “They were enthusiastic about the chance to create a meaningful souvenir.

“Due to the popularity of the event,” Edwards added, “it will likely be repeated on other occasions this spring.” The next opportunity for students to make their own chopsticks will be during the Wellness Fair on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Sponsoring the inaugural chopstick-making event were Facilities Management, the Department of Chinese and Japanese, the Office of International Student Affairs, and the Institute for Global Engagement.

Photos courtesy of Takahiro Omura ’17.

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