Have you ever looked at the mission statement of a university? More often than not, many of them will say something to the extent of the university providing service to the community. Take Virginia Tech’s mission statement for example:
“Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.”
Not only is service mentioned in Virginia Tech’s mission, but also the university’s commitment to “…advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life”. For those of us living in the “bubble” that is campus culture, it can be difficult to tangibly see how the university provides on its promise to serve. Thankfully, I stumbled across a phenomenal example of how Virginia Tech gives back to the surrounding community: Campus Kitchen.
What is the Campus Kitchen?
Virginia Tech’s Campus Kitchen is a program ran through VT Engage that recovers surplus food from VT’s dining halls, repurposes it into meals, and delivers those meals to a local food bank. Campus Kitchens Project is national organization that promotes students getting involved combating food waste and hunger. Students in collegiate chapters across the nation collect surplus food from on-campus dining halls and help transform it to healthy meals that are distributed to food insecure individuals in the area .One in eight Virginians struggles with food insecurity, and there is a great need in our region to provide services to get food to those in need. In spring 2015, Virginia Tech was one of three schools that won $5,000 grant to help start up a campus chapter. Volunteers have devoted over 2,500 hours with the CKVT since its launch in fall 2015. We are now recovering surplus food from three Virginia Tech dining halls six days a week. 10,000+ pounds of recovered food and 400+ meals have been delivered to our community partner, Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread.
Who is involved in the operations of VT’s Campus Kitchen, and what exactly do they do?
The great thing about Campus Kitchen is that anyone at Virginia Tech or the surrounding community is welcome to volunteer their time to help with daily operations. There at a variety of ways one can get involved in VT’s Campus Kitchen. For instance, the Kitchen needs weekly volunteers to pack, cook, deliver, and serve the food they repurpose. Additionally, if one finds they enjoy volunteering and would like a larger more long-term role, volunteers can commit to collecting the food from the dining halls or becoming a delivery/shift leader.
If volunteering in VT’s Campus Kitchen isn’t your “cup of tea”, there are plenty of other programs offered through VT Engage to get involved with. It seems that Virginia Tech really strives to provide on its commitment to service and truly lives up to it’s motto ut prosim — That I May Serve.