Whats Happening: Campus Kitchens Project At Auburn University

 

DSC_0206Some awesome things have been happening with the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University, and I’m here to let you in on the action!  I have had the pleasure of working with this amazing group of college students for the last 6 months, and it is incredible to be a part of everything that they have achieved (SO FAR) in 2016! We have collected incredible amounts of food, been working on new nutrition education programs, received grants to expand our operation, are planning a banquet for EASE house, and are looking for more volunteers to pick up, package, and deliver food in Lee County, BECAUSE WE ARE SAVING SO MUCH!!!  There has been so much growth, and I am excited that I get to be a part of it.

First of all let me say how proud I am to report that Campus Kitchen at Auburn University broke a personal record for the most amount of food collected in a single month in the spring semester!  In February of 2016 we collected 1,188 pounds of food!  This is over double the amount that we normally pick up and distribute in a month, and is almost half of the total amount that we collected last Fall! This is a fantastic number in more ways than one!  This is almost 1,200 pounds of food that has been saved from the landfill, and almost 1,200 pounds of food that has been put into the hands of people who truly need and depend on it.

Campus Kitchens is also working on rolling out a new nutrition education program at Community Market!  Our nutrition director, Halie, will be working with the guests at the Community Market to teach healthy ways to prepare produce they get on their visits.  Community market gives “free weight” produce to those who qualify, but cooking with new ingredients can be intimidating, so quite a number of people don’t take much produce home with them.  This program will work to teach visitors how to use produce that they might not be familiar with and incorporate it into delicious and healthy meals.  This means more healthy food options in people’s homes, and less wasted produce.  This is a great new addition to our program!

As anyone knows, expansion isn’t possible without support from donations, grants, and devoted volunteers.  With your help, we crowd funded a total of $700.00 for our Raise the Dough Campaign, which will help us package 4,200 meals for residents of Lee County!  This semester we were also honored to be a beneficiary of the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship, sponsored by Sodexo Foundation. Our former President, Daniel Cason, applied for this scholarship and was selected as a regional winner, and was granted $1,000 to donate to the organization of his choosing, and he chose CKPAU!   We also received the CoBank Rural Hunger Outreach Grant.  The Rural Hunger Outreach Grant will allow us to expand our involvement with Meals on Wheels in Auburn, will support a nutrition education program at Our House (an after school program that serves kids ages kindergarten through middle school in a government housing neighborhood in Auburn) and Community Market, and will fund a part time “Hunger Fellow” to keep Campus Kitchens up and running for the summer of 2016!

As if we weren’t going above and beyond already, we are also hosting a banquet, in partnership with Committee of 19, to serve residents of East Alabama Services for the Elderly (EASE House) on April 3rd from 5-7pm at the Red Barn.  We will be working with volunteers to serve and sit with residents at EASE House and provide a meal for them.  Tiger Dining is providing the food, and Tiger Transit is providing transportation from EASE House to the Red Barn.  If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Daniel Cason at DSC0016@auburn.edu.

Finally, with all the progress over the last few months, we are always looking for new volunteers.  We welcome anyone to come spend time volunteering with us.  There are many opportunities to grow in your position and make a difference in the community.  If you would like more information about Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn, contact Hallie Nelson at HMN0005@auburn.edu.  If you would like to volunteer, please CLICK HERE!

Thank you for everything you do, and I look forward to hearing from you about the awesome work we are doing at CKPAU.

Until Next Time!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IMG_1310.JPG

This has been a fantastic and exciting week at the Office of Public Service!  We had a successful night eating for change at Chipotle, sponsored our first Mobile Food Pantry, and hosted a thought provoking Strategic Planning Workshop at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.

First, I want to thank EVERYONE who came out to our Campus Kitchens fundraiser at Chipotle last week.  With your help, we raised almost $650 for Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn University!  These funds will help the students in efforts to reduce food insecurity in Lee County. If you would like to Volunteer with Campus Kitchens Project, CLICK HERE!

On Friday, January 22nd, we completed our MLK Day of Service Project with the support of a grant from Campus Compact.  Our project sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry at the Macon County Food Bank just down the road in Tuskegee, Alabama.  Our service project mobilized over 20 volunteers who helped distribute almost 9,000 pounds of food to residents of Macon County.  Campus Kitchens Project Volunteers also distributed nutrition education information to recipients of the food boxes.  This was an incredible opportunity and was a great experience for all of our volunteers.  Organizing an event like this was so inspiring, and it just pushes us at the Office of Public Service to work harder to serve Auburn and the surrounding areas.

On Tuesday the 26th we hosted our first partner training of 2016 at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. We had the opportunity to hear from Dr. William Sauser, a Professor Emeritus with the Harbert College of Business, who presented the principals of strategic planning to attendees.  Dr. Sauser was met with much appreciation for sharing his insight, experiences, and expertise in strategic planning, and everyone walked away with many things to think about!

Finally, I would like to invite you to attend our annual Spring Lunch and Learn at the Auburn Student Center!  This event will be held on February 11th from 11:45-12:45 in room 2326.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Stay tuned to hear about the amazing partners we have lined up to share volunteer opportunities and needs!  If you have any questions about our upcoming Lunch and Learn, please contact Christina Spence at clh0063@auburn.edu.

Until next time!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Volunteer Fair This Friday!

VolunteerFlyer16Winter pick me

Good Morning from the Office of Public Service!

We are so excited about the Auburn Serves annual Volunteer Fair on Friday!  In case you missed the announcement, the fair will be held in the main lobby of the student center on Auburn University’s campus.  We will be starting at 10am, and going until 1pm, so come out and meet our community partners.  We have over 20 organizations looking for volunteers!  Some of the organizations participating in the fair this year are:

Lee County Autism Resource  & Advocacy

Golden Eagle Aviation

Alabama Rural Ministry

Bridge Builders

Storybook Farm

Project Uplift

Alpha Phi Omega

Campus Kitchens Project

The Salvation Army

The AU Seed Library

Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental

and many more!!

This is a great opportunity to get started on service hours for 2016!  If you have any questions please contact Christina Spence at CLH0063@auburn.edu.

See you there!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MLK Day of Service Grant Recipients!

 

Screen-Shot-2015-01-15-at-9.56.35-AM.png

I am thrilled to announce that Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn University, through Campus Compact partner Auburn University Office of Public Service (OPS), has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 MLK Day of Service Community Partnership Project mini grant! Former OPS VISTA Elizabeth Harbin and I worked together on the grant proposal and are now moving forward with the project to reduce food insecurity in East Alabama!  We will host one of 62 projects in Campus Compact colleges and universities across 25 states!  Grant funds upwards of $300,000 will be distributed and over 20,000 volunteers will be mobilized for all of the projects on and around the MLK Day of Service, January 18, 2016.  If you would like to check out the other award recipients, or find out more about the MLK Day of Service grants, CLICK HERE.

I am so excited about our project!  Over the next few months the Office of Public Service, part of University Outreach at Auburn University, will be working hand in hand with Campus Kitchens project at Auburn University, The Food Bank of East Alabama, and The Food Bank of Macon County, to sponsor and run a mobile food pantry.  What is a mobile food pantry you may ask? A mobile food pantry is basically a food pantry on wheels.  It enables us to provide food to those in need who may not have access to a local food bank by bringing the food bank to them! It is one of the most effective programs The Food Bank of East Alabama provides.  From 2011 to 2014, one hundred forty one mobile food pantry distribution events were sponsored and almost 750,000 pounds of food was distributed.  It is structured to be an engaging experience where volunteers assist with various tasks.  The mobile pantry uses a farmer’s market type atmosphere which allows guests to choose items for their family, which engages them and offers the opportunity to connect with partners and volunteers.   Our project will recruit volunteers from Auburn University, Lee County, Campus Kitchens Project, and the Auburn Serves Network. We will mobilize over 30 volunteers to provide 5000-8000 pounds of food, as well as nutrition education and prepared Campus Kitchen meals, to up to 110 families and veterans in Macon County.

Campus Kitchens Project will be doing so much to help with this project.  They will be working as student coordinators for the grant, fundraising for grant matching funds, volunteering at the pantry distribution site, and will provide nutrition information and meals for each family who will be served.  For those who are not familiar with Campus Kitchens Project, it is a student-led, student run, organization that fights hunger and food waste by safely collecting surplus food from the university’s dining facilities to produce nutritious meals for food pantries on and off campus. This semester alone, they have collected 2,573 pounds of food that would have been discarded, and provided 2,621 meals to local food pantry’s and non-profits in the Lee County area.  If you are an Auburn Student and are interested in Volunteering with Campus Kitchens in the spring, contact Adam Bashir (aeb0038@tigermail.auburn.edu).

Our project will be held In Macon county On January 22nd 2016.  Please contact me at clh0063@auburn.edu if you are interested in volunteering or supporting our project!

Until Next Time!

 

Posted in At the Office! | Leave a comment

Marketing Strategy Workshop Recap

commpartnertraining

Attendees from Enroll Alabama waiting for the training to begin!

Last Thursday, December 3rd, The Office of Public Service hosted its final partner training of 2015.  This interactive training gave attendees the chance to examine their marketing strategies and determine any changes or updates they might want to make to address their goals for 2016.  We talked about what marketing is, why you need it, and how it can be essential for any organization.  The workshop focused on 5 steps to developing a marketing strategy:

  1. Developing a mission statement
  2. Knowing your target market
  3. Knowing your product or service
  4. Positioning your product or service
  5. Defining your marketing methods.

All of these steps were highlighted in Janie’s presentation, and everyone had time to ask questions and fill out their workbooks to put their plans and ideas on paper.

Along with working on a marketing strategy packet, everyone had the chance to use our netbooks to google their organizations to see what they could find.  This is a great exercise to measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy implementation.  Want to try it yourself?  Just pull up Google, search the name of your organization in quotation marks, and see how many results you get.  After you implement your marketing strategy, do the same thing and see if the number changes.  A bigger number generally means that you have done a great job with your new marketing strategy!  This is just one of the helpful tips our facilitator Janie Echols-brown gave to the attendees.

If you want to know when we are having trainings in 2016, visit Auburnserves.com  and use your Auburn University login to join our network!  We have some exciting programs in the works for the spring, including a strategic planning workshop in January and our annual Volunteer Fair at the student center on January 15th from 10am-1pm.  As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Would you like to be featured on the Public Service blog?  I would love to know what you are doing to bring the community and the university together!  Contact me at clh0063@auburn.edu if you want to share a story or post an event to the Auburn serves network.

Until next time!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interactive Marketing Strategies Workshop

PartnerTrainingDec3img

Come out to our Final Training of 2015!  Our facilitator Janie Echols-Brown is a Specialist III in Art Design for Auburn University Outreach in the Office of Public Service. Janie has a B.S. in Commerce & Business Administration from the University of Alabama majoring in marketing with concentrations in market research and sales management. With
over 25 years of experience, she has worked in the newspaper industry managing creative services and has been a graphic designer at Auburn University since 2000.

Devan Quinn, who is a student in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business – Auburn University, has prepared a short presentation on options in Online Marketing Strategy. Devan works in the Office of Public Service in Auburn University Outreach. Devan is originally from Ridgewood, New Jersey and will be graduating in the spring of 2016. He plans to move to Australia after graduation.

Space is limited!  If you would like to reserve your spot, please contact me at CLH0063@auburn.edu. See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sweet Potatoes, Alabama History, and Critical Reflections

IMG_1152

Good afternoon from the Office of Public Service!  Last week was a busy time at the office!  With everything from the Alabama Stories Luncheon at the Hotel at Auburn University, finalizing the programing for our marketing strategy workshop, the Faculty Colloquia, AND bagging thousands of pounds of potatoes for the Wesley Foundation sweet potato drop! But before I go into that, I would like to thank you for reading, and officially introduce myself.

I am Christina Spence, and I am serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) with the Auburn University Office of Public Service.   For the next year, I will be working with local non-profits, working on grants, and organizing volunteer fairs, partner trainings, and lunch and learn activities (and sharing my experiences here!).  I also serve as an advisor for the student led group Campus Kitchens Project.

A little bit about how I got here.  I am originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.   I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone North Carolina.   After college I moved to Greenville, NC where I completed my Masters of Social Work degree from East Carolina University.  As a graduate student, I worked with the local United Way on collective community impact initiatives and grant management systems.   The work I did with United Way sparked my passion for volunteerism and led to my belief in the importance and strength of true partnerships in a community.  I wanted to do something to give back to the world, and found myself as a VISTA!  (Not to be neglected is my love for dogs, adventures, and cooking)  So that is the short story. I am passionate about service, I love what I do, and I want to share it with you.  I hope you will stay tuned as I post each week and that you will learn just a little bit about the Auburn community and what we do at the Office of Public Service.

That leads me my week at the Office of Public Service!

On November 10th I attended the Alabama Stories Symposium at the Hotel at Auburn University.  The event was in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities.  It was a wonderful presentation of history and remembrance.  Dr. Mark Wilson, director of the center, welcomed the attendees and introduced the wonderful guest speakers. Dr. Birch Hitchcock, Dr. Kathryn Braund, and Dr. Wayne Flint told little known stories about Alabama history.  Stories of similarities in different times, recognition of Alabama writers, and lost Native American history.  The keynote address was given by Dr. William Ferris.  His presentation reflected contents of his book “The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists.”  The program was followed by the grand re-opening of Pebble Hill, a local historical landmark.  Pebble Hill and its history reflects the history of Auburn itself–its founding, its growth, and its development. It was a powerful series, and I am glad I got to be a part of the growing history of Auburn.

As if there wasn’t enough going on last week, we also hosted our Faculty Colloquia on Thursday November 12th.  We welcomed Dr. Mark Wilson, Rachel Naftel, and Cristin Foster and had conversations about service learning and critical reflection.   The conversations were meaningful, powerful, and exciting.  Dr. Mark Wilson, Director of Civic Learning Initiatives in the College of Liberal arts, spoke to us about his civic engagement course which utilizes in-service learning and critical reflections as vital aspects of the learning process.  The course requires students to spend time volunteering at the Lee County Youth Development Center and to reflect on their learning experiences through weekly journal entries.  Dr. Wilson challenges his students to think deeply about the “What,” “So what,” and “Now what” of their experiences at the center.  His questions are intentional, and encourage a deeper analysis of the learning experiences.  Rachel Naftel, a doctoral candidate in the Public Administration and Policy program at Auburn, who works as Dr. Wilson’s graduate assistant, also contributed to the conversation. She spoke to her experience in Dr. Wilson’s class and pointed out how the experiences she had felt like more than an assignment.  She ended her class with more than a grade; she had an experience that she will never forget.  Rachel will be leading a service learning course with Dr. Wilson in the spring.

Cristin Foster, executive director of the David Matthews Center for Civic life in Montevallo Alabama, spoke to the power of critical reflection in communities.  The Matthews Center works to provide civic engagement by hosting community conversations, or deliberations, across Alabama.  Cristin spends her days traveling and talking to people all over Alabama about topics in their communities. The Matthews Center believes, “changing the way people talk can change the way they relate to each other and their problems – and that can eventually change the community.”  It is a great undertaking, and one we hope to play a larger part of in the future.  For more information about the Matthews Center and what they are doing, Click here!

Next, we can’t forget about our upcoming interactive marketing strategies workshop on December 3rd.  The training will be held from 1-2:30pm at the Auburn Chamber of commerce.  The training will be led by our very own Janie Echols-Brown.  She will cover topics in mission statements, target markets, product/service positioning, and marketing methods. We will also cover strategies in internet marketing.  You will leave this workshop with an outline for your organizations’ marketing strategy, as well as the tools needed to build a marketing tool kit.  Keep an eye out for the flyer, I will post it later this week!

Last but not least, this week I participated in my first ever Sweet Potato Drop.  Dozens of volunteers came out to the Wesley foundation parking lot to help bag thousands of pounds of sweet potatoes that would have been buried in a landfill because they were too big, small, or oddly shaped to be distributed for sale.  Just in time for the holidays, the bags were distributed to the food bank and other organizations in the community.  So I ended the week fighting hunger, reducing food waste, and volunteering for a good cause.  What a great and exciting week!

Until Next time!

Posted in At the Office! | Leave a comment