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Sherree Davis, Stacye Blount, and Nicole Lucas, Fayetteville State University
October 2015 FSU Harvest Festival
Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) is a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger and food waste in their community. On university and high school campuses across the country, students transform surplus edible food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets into meals that are delivered to local agencies serving those in need.
By running a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills as well as a commitment to serve their campus community. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and convene food policy events. In the last academic year, 45 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 988,705 pounds of food and delivered 321,936 meals.
The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project, according to its website, is to 1) strengthen bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in the community, 2) empower minds by providing leadership and service-learning opportunities to students and educational benefits to individuals in need, and 3) build communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses, and schools.
The CKP philosophy is: Teach. Reach. Feed. Lead. The model teaches students about poverty; reaches individuals who need assistance and those persons and organizations that have resources to reduce food insecurity; feeds a changing and growing hunger need; and asks students to lead the effort with their own entrepreneurial solutions. These efforts enable students to become change agents.
During the Mr. Fayetteville State University (FSU) competition in spring 2015, one student candidate’s platform was based on his desire to see FSU launch a food recovery program. A few weeks later, the Program Manager for the Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (CESL) stated that she had attended a conference whereby a representative from the CKP National Office discussed bringing a Campus Kitchen to local college campuses. In April 2015, after reviewing the national website and conversations with a national office representative, we began the planning process to launch the Campus Kitchen at Fayetteville State University (CKFSU). The Mr. Fayetteville runner up is currently the Student Coordinator for CKFSU and has been heavily involved in its planning stages.
This current effort requires collaborative actions among the Sociology Department, CESL, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Academic Affairs, Aramark Dining Services, the FSU Farmers Market, and various community organizations. In November 2015, the university received a $5,000 grant to assist with the launch of a Campus Kitchen and the official launch will occur in May 2016. The FSU Sociology Department is the sponsoring office of the CKFSU (i.e., provides oversight, office space, and a “home” for the Campus Kitchen) and Stacye Blount, Assistant Professor of Sociology, is the faculty advisor along with student leadership team members. CKFSU will focus on providing meals and nutrition education to pre-school children. FSU will be the second Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the nation to host a Campus Kitchen and the first HBCU to sponsor a Campus Kitchen in North Carolina.
This community/student engagement project assists in fostering sociological thinking in undergraduate students in the following manner:
Founded in 1867, FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. It offers nearly 60 degrees in the arts, sciences, business, and education at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. It serves more than 6,100 students and has a faculty and staff of approximately 800.
You can create agents of change on your campus too. Grant funds are available to help with the implementation of this program. To learn more about The Campus Kitchens Project, visit the national website at www.campuskitchens.org or contact Matt Schnarr at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Campus Kitchen at Fayetteville State University, contact Stacye Blount at email@example.com.