Food services, especially on a large scale, can create a lot of waste. Fortunately, food recovery and distribution groups do the hard work of collecting food and redistributing it for consumption before it goes bad. By swapping out their personal vehicles for an electric golf cart, the team of students at Campus Kitchens at Auburn University are aiming to make their organization more in line with their holistic vision by cutting down on emissions.
The Greenhouse Initiative: In 2017, we partnered with Sambazon to find students and student-led organizations around the nation that are putting in work to create change in their communities and ecosystems.
Tell us about Carting in Sustainability? What is your mission?
Carting in Sustainability: Carting in Sustainability began as an effort for our organization to become more sustainable in the area of transportation. We are a student-run, student-led food recovery and distribution network at Auburn University. We operate with a team of 32 dedicated shift leaders that volunteer their time and energy every week to serve our community. Our shift leaders use their personal vehicles to recover prepared, unserved food at various campus dining locations, and we saw an opportunity for change in this method. In order to cut down on emissions and increase shift efficiency, we decided a golf cart was the best fit for our need. So, we have the opportunity through the Ecology Center and Sambazon to make this dream a reality.
How do you see Carting in Sustainability positively affecting future generations?
CIS: We think the impact that Carting in Sustainability will have at, not only at our school but in our community, is incredible. It will be an opportunity for visibility for Campus Kitchens as we drive to various campus dining locations to recover food. Additionally, the mentorship from the Ecology Center will help us to improve our day-to-day practices to make them more sustainable. Carting in Sustainability is an opportunity for us to provide a resource for future generations of campus food recovery leaders regarding improvements in all areas of sustainability.
How has Sambazon’s dedication to social entrepreneurship inspired you?
CIS: Working with Sambazon has been an incredible opportunity for exposure to a socially conscious business. As student leaders, we are motivated to see companies that give back in ways that we find valuable, influential, and essential to making a positive difference.
What is one simple solution you believe people can implement in their lives to live a more sustainable life?
CIS: I believe that the best investment someone can make is in their community. One goal of Campus Kitchens is education, which is accomplished through our nutrition committee. They hold nutrition education sessions for groups of all ages, and their programming gives those we serve the opportunity to grow their knowledge of food and its impact on health. This is just one of many examples through which we invest in our community, which makes us more sustainable as a whole.
What change can you make by the end of this school year that will have an impact on your campus?
CIS: Carting in Sustainability will have a major impact on our efficiency and our exposure on campus. I believe that by the end of this school year, new opportunities for expansion will arise, and because of the golf cart and its effective use, we will be able to meet those opportunities.
Team Member: Kenzley Defler, Ginny Lampkin