Students in Dakota Wesleyan University’s “death, dying and life after death” class are set to share their “expertise” next week during the course’s final.
The final – dubbed “The Death Café” – will be an opportunity for the students to share their final projects – becoming “experts” on a particular end-of-life issue such as helping children with grief, organ donation, different burial options, and options when planning a funeral.
The presentations will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the Tiger Café in the McGovern Library. This event is free and open to the public.
“This sounds morbid, I know, and some believe death is a taboo topic – never to be discussed publically – but ending that stigma is partly what this class is meant to do,” said Denise Van Meter, the class’s instructor. “My hope for these students is that through this class they come to a better, more peaceful understanding of death – and part of that is done by educating yourself on what happens next.”
The class dives into the topic of life after death, different religious views, and the process of what the family goes through following a death.
“For some of these students, they might not have lost anyone close to them yet, so they might not understand just how shocking that news can be,” Van Meter said. “They also might not understand the importance of the grieving process – allowing yourself and your loved ones room to grieve. And also the basics involved, from burial to memorials, and why many people find them important components to the grieving process.”
Van Meter hopes her students can take what they have learned in class and apply it to their future careers from medicine to ministry to teaching to criminal justice.