Annual Soup & Hope speaker series to kick off Jan. 25

The 17th annual Soup & Hope speaker series returns to Sage Chapel on Jan. 25, featuring six Cornell staff, faculty and student storytellers sharing their experiences of overcoming life’s challenges while attendees enjoy a free meal of soup and bread.

The series is open to the public and spotlights speakers and stories of hope. The six talks in the series will be held on Thursdays through March 28, from noon to 1 p.m. Events are free and do not require registration.

“Since its inception, the Soup & Hope speaker series has served as a vehicle to connect our diverse campus community through shared stories of adversity and resilience while also promoting well-being and belonging – which are critical during the winter months especially,” said Joel Harter, director of the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making and Cornell United Religious Work. “At a time when divisiveness surrounds us in many ways, this series brings us together.”

Speakers will share candid, personal stories through the lens of their wide range of identities and experiences, such as cultivating inclusive communities from an intersectional perspective; acting as legal counsel in a case involving detentions at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station; overcoming mental illness during the pandemic; growing up far from family during a political revolution; supporting mental health within Indigenous communities; and immigrating to the U.S. to become an Olympian and one of the only Black head coaches in the Ivy League.

Joanne Wang ’24, a biological sciences major in the College of Arts and Sciences, will share how she found relief from anxiety and depression – which was exacerbated by the stress of the pandemic – through the Trail Running physical education course at Cornell.

“Running had a huge positive impact on both my mental and physical health,” Wang said. “Being outdoors and moving my body showed me how much good the world has to offer, that I was capable of tackling my mental obstacles and that my body was deserving of both fuel and care.”

Wang eventually became a Cornell Outdoor Education instructor and Cornell Running Club co-president.

“I hope to inspire attendees to spend more time in nature and participate in outdoor movement,” Wang said. “But more importantly, I hope to encourage attendees to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. As humans we are always striving to serve others, but we can only do so to the best of our ability when we have first served ourselves. “

The full series:

  • Jan. 25: Foula Dimopoulos, senior adviser and first-generation program coordinator at the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives;
  • Feb. 8: Joseph Margulies, professor of practice of government in A&S;
  • Feb. 22: Joanne Wang ’24, a biological sciences major;
  • March 7: Subash Bhandari, doctoral student in biomedical engineering;
  • March 21: Adrian Durant, the George Heekin ’29 Head Coach of Men’s Track and Field; and
  • March 28: Wahieñhawi “Hawi” Hall, an assistant director for Cornell Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

Soup provided by Cornell Catering is available starting at noon; talks begin at 12:15 p.m. and each event concludes around 12:45 p.m. While the series is held in Sage Chapel, the events are not affiliated with a religious organization.

The Soup & Hope series is co-sponsored by the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making, Human Resources, Cornell Health and Cornell Catering.

Laura Gallup is a communications lead in Student and Campus Life.

/Public Release. View in full here.