May 1, 2019

Levermore Global Scholars Find Food for Thoughtfulness in Shelter Assistance Effort

by Kurt Gottschalk

The old adage “waste not, want not” works well as a precept for resourcefulness, but a pair of Levermore Global Scholars (LGS) are taking it a step further. When they see waste, it makes them want to salvage and redirect.

Seniors Wensley Bynoe and Jenna Szabo saw waste in the form of uneaten pizza being thrown out after a campus event and wanted to do something to put the untouched food to better use. Now, through the LGS Student Leadership Council, they’ve launched an on-campus food recovery initiative to redistribute food that would otherwise be destined for the dustbin to local shelters for the homeless.

Leftover pizza isn’t on the table, however. They soon learned that health standards for temperature regulation complicate the redelivery of hot foods. But after meeting with representatives from Adelphi Dining Services, they learned that there’s a steady supply of packaged fruit, salads and sandwiches that could be picked up and taken to shelters rather than being discarded. Adelphi kitchen workers are now setting aside unopened packages that are just at the expiration dates for Bynoe and Szabo to pick up and redeliver.

“We really appreciate it because they don’t have to do it either,” Szabo said. “That’s about $700 a week they were throwing out.”

“It’s very easy and scalable; it’s not very difficult to maintain,” Bynoe added. “It was just the tremendous amount of waste.”

Twice a week, the two pick up the collected packages from the Ruth S. Harley University Center and Post Hall, and smaller stashes from the Paws and Underground cafés, and take them in Szabo’s car to the Glory House Recovery shelter in nearby Hempstead. The average number of items is about 50 per trip, according to the spreadsheets they keep.

The effort doesn’t directly play into their studies. Szabo is studying sociology and studio art while Bynoe is working on an interdisciplinary degree in English, Spanish and sociology with a minor in African, Black and Caribbean Studies. But as Levermore Global Scholars Administrative Director Peter DeBartolo points out, the project gets to the heart of the LGS goals of social justice and sustainability, and the emphasis on community engagement in President Christine Riordan’s Momentum strategic plan.

“The LGS program bridges theory and practice, and helps students find new ways to give back and make a positive impact in local and global communities,” he said. “LGS students are advocates, innovators and problem solvers. Projects like this demonstrate that we can all come together to help make the world a better place one day at a time.

“The food recovery project not only advances the LGS mission to promote social justice, human rights, and sustainability, but it also promotes and aligns with the global community’s U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

Bynoe and Szabo are both graduating in the fall. Bynoe is considering law school and nonprofit work while Szabo will be enrolling in yoga school with plans to become a yoga therapist. But plans are already underway to ensure the effort outlasts their time on campus. They’ve taken on a couple of younger student apprentices—such as first-year student Anthony Johnston—who will carry on after they’re gone, and DeBartolo is working with Kathryn Krasinski, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology, to ensure that the project isn’t just continued, but expanded upon.

While they’re not getting course credit for their efforts, Bynoe said the project is very much a part of their Adelphi initiative.

“I think it’s very much in keeping with what you see at LGS,” he said.

Szabo responded more succinctly: “It’s just part of who we are.”


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