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University student takes action against hunger

Senior Adam Haynes has a plan that could change the way students nationwide think about and use their meal plans, and he’s calling on the University community for help.

Haynes, an education major, was part of a $5,000-winning group at the ‘Be the Change’ national student forum at Babson College in Massachusetts.

His group pitched a winning proposal for a program in which both universities and their students could donate to local food pantries and shelters. Universities could donate excess food and students could donate ‘swipes’ from their meal plans.

The forum, which was held in April, focused on personal and social responsibility and was sponsored by Babson and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

The group’s proposal, titled ‘End Hunger. Fast!’ was one of two winning proposals out of six at the forum. Haynes said about 30 students were placed in six randomly-selected groups to come up with ideas to pitch to a panel of judges. His group consisted of two students from Babson, two from Michigan State University and one from Elizabethtown College.

‘It was through a collaborative effort where we just did some brainstorming,’ Haynes said, explaining how he and his group members came up with the idea. He said they talked about how food is wasted on campuses and how instead of buying junk food at the end of the year, students could put their money to better use.

‘Ok, you have a college education, so now you have to take more responsibility on and try to help others,’ he said. ‘Of all the things I want people to know is they should appreciate what they have and give back.’

Haynes said one of his goals is to make the program a student, faculty and community initiative which provides both learning and service opportunities.

‘We can talk about world hunger and so forth, but then also we can take action and have an actual service opportunity,’ he said.

Haynes wants to get campus organizations involved in implementing the plan at the University.

‘The heart of campus is the student leaders and organizations,’ he said. ‘I’m looking at something where all organizations can come together and help and work.’

The program would be a great opportunity for organizations such as fraternities and sororities to gain service hours, Haynes said. He said a workable system might involve leaders from campus groups coming together, sharing ideas and explaining how they would like to participate.

‘The goal is for this to make change and to keep going, because I’m graduating this spring, so I won’t be able to see the final outcome,’ Haynes said, adding that he plans to speak with University administrators about the plan in the near future.

Haynes was selected to attend the ‘Be the Change’ forum by George Agich, director of the BGeXperience Program. Also selected was University student Starmisha Conyers-Page, who represented the University’s Core Commitments group.

‘BGeX was invited to select two BGSU students to attend the conference. This came about through our connections through the Core Commitment grant and Leadership Consortium that I served on,’ Agich said in an e-mail.

The University is part of the AAC’amp;U’s Core Commitments Leadership Consortium, ‘which is designed to bring together the most promising institutional practices related to educating students for personal and social responsibility as well as to deepen and extend these efforts,’ according to the AAC’amp;U’s Web site.

Agich said he thought University students were invited to the ‘Be the Change’ forum because students from colleges within the Leadership Consortium were wanted.

Haynes was a peer facilitator for the BGeXperience program for two years, and Agich said he was selected as a student representative partly because he had a ‘good track record of creativity and initiative.’

‘Adam was part of this team that won, and that tells you we’ve got students at BGSU [who] can go to a meeting and compete, and I’m very proud of that,’ Agich said. ‘He’s a good example of the kind of student we want to prepare at BGSU.’

Haynes is ready and willing to put the plan into action.

‘BGSU loves to do community, faculty and student engagement,’ Haynes said. ‘The ball is started; it just needs to keep rolling.’

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