Knox Wins National Award for Donating Surplus Food
May 01, 2018
An initiative by Knox College students to distribute surplus cafeteria food to local charities is receiving top honors in a nationwide recycling and waste reduction competition.
Thanks to student volunteers working through a campus club, the Food Recovery Network, Knox finished first in the "Food Organics" category in RecycleMania 2018. The contest drew entries from more than 300 colleges and universities.
The Knox chapter of Food Recovery Network organizes a squad of about ten volunteers who meet every weekday to collect cafeteria food that was prepared but not served. The students then deliver the food to local social service agencies, including the Galesburg Rescue Mission and Women's Shelter, and the Safe Harbor Family Crisis Center.
The use of the delivery van and the cafeteria food are both donated by Knox College.
During the two-month-long competition held earlier this year, Knox students in Food Recovery Network collected more than 1,300 pounds of surplus cafeteria food and delivered it to the local charities. Knox racked up 54 points total, finishing first among the 168 entrants in the Food Organics category.
In this year's competition, Knox also scored well in the "Per Capita" catagory. Based on the amount of total campus waste recycled per student. Knox ranked first among Illinois schools, 7th in the nation among small liberal arts colleges, and 15th in the nation among all colleges and universities.
"Knox's success in the Food Organics category is due to the efforts of the Knox chapter of Food Recovery Network," said Deborah Steinberg, director of Sustainability Initiatives.
Food Recovery Network has two goals, according to chapter president Meryl Davis '19, an anthropology-sociology major from Evanston, Illinois.
"We want to help people understand that their individual choices play a large role in how much food waste we produce on the consumer end. Our other role is to make sure that we're diverting excess food from the kitchen to someone who needs it," Davis said.
In addition to recovering excess food, FRN also leads the 'Weigh the Waste' campaign that helps students using the cafeteria think about how much they leave uneaten on their plates.
"These are all 'behind the scenes' efforts that help the community reduce waste and inspire the campus to think about what they are throwing out," Steinberg said.
RecycleMania 2018 is managed by Keep America Beautiful and sponsored by Rubbermaid Commercial Products.