Since accepting my job at the Campus Food Bank, the most common question I get from Boomers is, “Really? Student hunger is a problem?”
Well, yes, Baby Boomers, since tuition grew 267% between 1993 and 2003, many students can no longer afford to feed themselves. For many students, poverty has become so commonplace that it now provides enough material to fill this year’s Indira Magazine, a parody prepared by the U of A student newspaper that essentially compares University President Indira Samarasekera to Oprah Winfrey.
Not only does the Atlantic throw great parties at the Watergate Complex that were regularly frequented by us interns, they apparently write great articles. They even published a great primer on the growing problem of student hunger in the United States, which I stumbled across at work today and is definitely worth a read.
Today, I started my brand new job at the University of Alberta Campus Food Bank Society. Overall, it seems like a great organization to work for and I’m really looking forward to what comes out of the job in the next few months.
During my afternoon training, a few volunteers brought in a monster-sized load of donations from this year’s Eco Move Out. The project was the perfect solution to a very common problem: lazy first-year students who would rather throw crap out than pack it up when moving out of dorms. This year, the Office of Sustainability decided to leave dumpsters for the U of A’s 3,500 residents to donate everything from old clothes (sent to Goodwill), to unopened food (sent to me at the Food Bank), to old toothpaste tubes (which apparently can be recycled into new plastics by Terracycle).
Looking back on my own undergraduate experience, I can only cringe at the amount of completely useful stuff I threw out every 4 or 8 months just to keep my checked luggage under 50 lbs. Some of it went to worthwhile causes, like the three bags of clothes I donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association last December. However, most of it probably ended up in the landfill.
Eco Move Out is helping to meet the University of Alberta’s goal of reducing on-campus waste by 50 percent by 2015, something every household and organization should seriously consider.