UB’s Campus Dining and Shops (CDS) hosted a food drive to raise donations for the Food Bank of Western New York, in honor of World Food Day on Monday. Stacks of cans and pasta filled the table next to Capen Café as students donated food items throughout the day.
World Food Day traces back to the foundation of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. On Monday, events were held worldwide to bring awareness to world hunger and sustainable practices.
Raymond Kohl, a CDS marketing manager, spoke about UB’s partnership with the Food Bank of WNY.
“We have supported the Food Bank of WNY over the past few years as they are an agency that supports the University Presbyterian Food Pantry,” Kohl said. “[They] provide assistance for those in need in our immediate community.”
Students believe that holding an event like this helps organizations’ efforts to raise awareness of world hunger. These events also benefit homeless and low-income families in need of food in Buffalo.
Kerry Simizon, a sophomore international studies major, encourages UB to host more events like this.
“Hosting more food drives would be helpful. It’s so easy to do with so many students on campus,” Simizon said. “In high school, we had a lot of food drives and it was really effective in helping local food pantries.”
Maylan Nguyen, a junior environmental geosciences major and CDS’s student sustainability coordinator, stood behind the successful food collection. She said the partnership with University Presbyterian Food Pantry highlights UB students involvement in their local community.
“The benefits of hosting a food drive on campus is to spread awareness and to get campus and community involvement,” Nguyen said. “It shows that students here care about the local communities and their fellow students.”
CDS uses the icon “Made in/Grown in New York” to help students identify produce sourced by New York State farms, as stated on CDS’s sustainability blog to help students distinguish CDS’ sustainable food options.
Nguyen said this initiative shows students the importance of supporting local markets to help reduce waste.
“Grocery stores can throw out up to 50 percent of their produce,” Nguyen said. “If you could go to your farmers market and not support produce that has been traveling and the waste that comes from that, you can make a difference.”
Kohl shares other on-campus initiatives taken by the university to reduce its carbon footprint. One of CDS’s bigger accomplishments is expanding to compost all pre- and post-consumer food waste in all dining centers.
Most of student’s food waste in dining halls are recycled into soil amendment, according to UB Sustainability’s blog. However, Nguyen argues that students still need to be wary of their food waste.
“Taking that extra slice of pizza at C3 and letting your eyes be bigger than your stomach is a very critical issue in how much waste we are producing,” Nguyen said. “Food waste is a big issue and consciousness is an important thing people can have.”
Nguyen encourages students to use what they already have and only buy things they need.
Althea Seno, a sophomore architecture major, discusses how she saves time and reduces her own food waste.
“I cook a lot and I rarely throw out food because I meal prep,” Seno said. “I save all my food for a week and I eat it every day so that I won’t waste food.”
Some students have found their own troubles with food waste come from overbuying groceries. Katherine Zator, a junior dance major, said her difficulties in reducing her own food waste occurs when she lives away from home.
“In my parent’s house, we have a recycling bin where we compost our waste. It’s just harder in college to do this because I’m not conscious about it,” Zator said. “I need to buy less groceries and make sure I eat what I have before I buy more of it.”
The food drive marked one of Nguyen’s projects to raise awareness of food sustainability. By hosting more events and writing blogs on UB’s Sustainability page, Nguyen hopes students will learn more about the issue and take action.
“My goal this year is to expand composting on campus,” Nguyen said. “I would just tell everybody the easiest ways to reduce [their] carbon footprints and become sustainable and better for our planet.”
Wanly Chen is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com