By Celina Simmons
To kick off WasteLESS Week, an initiative of Sodexo Food Services as part of their Stop Hunger program, Sodexo Marketing Coordinator Rachel Fisk helped organize the third annual Community Garden Cleanup this past Saturday. The weather was great, but the community effort was even better. I was able to talk with a few of the volunteers and Rachel about the event and more ways to get involved with the environment, community and a healthy lifestyle.
For many of the volunteers, this was their first time helping with the cleanup, and they gave nothing but positive feedback. Many of them said that they plan to bring this experience home with them and hope to return next year. Some of them had applied for a plot in the garden to grow their own vegetation and plants this season.
For others, this was not their first time. David Beseda, psychology and sociology professor, said that this was his sixth year helping clean up the community garden on campus. Every year he tries to motivate his students to take part and volunteer in the event. He shared that one of the best parts is the collaboration of all the volunteers and sharing tricks of the trade. For example, I learned that seaweed has numerous benefits for gardens, from enriching the soil to repelling slugs and other pests.
I received many different comments from the volunteers, but I noticed a consistent theme in all of their responses was how great it felt to give back to the community. After asking Rachel what she thought was the most important message, she responded with “Just getting involved!” There are many different ways someone can get involved, and that’s why she is helping organize WasteLESS Week at the Dining Hall.
From April 23 to 26, she will be hosting different events and guests at Oceanview Dining Hall to show students what they can do to take part. On Wednesday, We Compost It will be coming in to talk about food waste and how composting benefits the environment and community. Before Sodexo began to compost trash in the dining hall, they found out that in just five days SMCC produced nearly two tons of food waste!
Rachel will be posting a picture of the volunteers to the Sodexo social media pages in an effort to win $3,000 from Stop Hunger. Stop Hunger (www.stop-hunger.org) is a nonprofit organization run by Sodexo since 1996, with a stated goal of “working for a hunger-free world.” Rachel plans on donating the money to the Captain’s Cupboard, a food assistance program on campus. Two years ago, SMCC won second place and received $2,000. You can help us win by sharing and liking the image on Facebook. The picture with the most likes wins!
If you are looking to get more involved in your community but don’t know where to start, Wayside Food Programs (www.waysidemaine.org) offers an extensive list of ways that you can help and volunteer. In a fast-paced world like our own, it’s hard to find time to help out in the community. But when you do stop and take the time to give back, nature, society and yourself will benefit.