At Vine Bread and Pasta, locals can find a little piece of UF’s freshman class among the baguettes.

The Summer session of the required humanities course for incoming freshmen, What is the Good Life?, created a community art installation alongside associate professor in industrial and systems engineering Elif Akcali.

On display at Vine, located at 627 N. Main St., the project is made up of one-word obituaries that students submitted on a piece of paper. The project will be displayed until Sept. 25.

Akcali came up with the idea for the project with Jenny Lee, a What is the Good Life? instructor and lecturer with UF’s Center for Arts in Medicine in the College of Fine Arts.

The one-word obituary project uses the submissions as a piece in a mixed-medium display showcase made of paper cranes.

About 110 students participated in the optional assignment, Akcali said.

“I didn’t want this to be forced,” Akcali said, “because for some people I think it would be difficult enough to write an obituary, let alone share part of it with someone that you don’t know.”

Margaret Dukes, a 19-year-old health education and behavior sophomore said she thought it was a challenging assignment.

“It’s really hard because I don’t think a person can be summarized into one word,” Dukes said.

Dukes chose the word “hope.”

“I think it’s sort of portraying to the community that we’re all thinking about and aware that we only have one life to live,” Dukes said.

Akcali said one of her favorite things about the project was the way it highlighted the underlying connection of the human experience.

“I think ‘joy’ was my word,” Akcali said. “There was one other ‘joy,’ and that made me smile. Maybe if you see another person who used the same word, you’ll say, ‘Ah, maybe that’s what makes me a human being.’”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 9/6/2013 under the headline "Student one-word obituaries become art at local bakery"

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