Instead of doing homework or playing ultimate frisbee, exercise science senior Domenica Sutherland spent her Tuesday night sorting through mountains of canned food donations flooding the Recreational Sports Center lobby.
“It was so nice to see our clubs come out and want to do well,” said Sutherland, vice president of Sport Club Association Council and women’s ultimate frisbee club member. “It makes us realize that we are part of something bigger than our individual teams.”
The Sport Club Association Council is reaching the end of their annual canned food drive for Central Texas Food Bank, which will end on Nov. 30, and 46 sport clubs have donated.
Sports organizations from UT and Texas A&M University added the canned food drive in 2013 to their annual Aggies-Longhorns Challenge, which consists of different competitions between the two universities. The canned food drive part of the challenge has occurred every November since, and whichever university collects the most ounces of canned goods will earn a point in their yearly competition.
“(The canned food drive) promotes the rivalry between two great institutions while contributing to a great, local cause that directly benefits both university communities and beyond,” said Chad Zimmerman, sport club program assistant director.
The Sport Club Association Council organized donation efforts by setting up bins in Gregory Gym and the Recreational Sports Center and hosting small-scale competitions between the organizations throughout November. The council has also been working with the Central Texas Food Bank and RecSports staff to count cans and arrange delivery logistics.
“It is a true team effort,” Zimmerman said. “There are weeks when we need to count and transport over 500 to 1,000 pounds of canned food.”
The council has tracked the weight of donations per club throughout the month and have received more 57,000 ounces in donations thus far. Sport club directors will hold a conference call with their A&M colleagues in early December to look over the final numbers and determine a winner.
“Yes, it is part of the Aggies-Longhorns Challenge, but there’s something (more important) about giving back to the community and making your voice known as a university,” Sutherland said.
UT earned the most points for the canned food drive and most points overall in the Aggies-Longhorns Challenge last year, but psychology senior Mickala Oakes, the Sport Club Association Council community service coordinator, said she prefers making an impact in her community over winning a tournament.
“While competing is really fun and really great, the bigger picture is making a difference in the world,” Oakes said.