campus-wide canned food drive

UT student organizations joined together to launch a campus-wide canned food drive this week, with the goal of collecting 1,000 cans for the Capital Area Food Bank.

Neighborhood Longhorns Program, a nonprofit focused on helping underprivileged youth, is bringing 30 students to UT’s campus Friday from Paredes Middle School in South Austin to help UT students organize donated cans and build a pyramid on Gregory Plaza. After this the Capital Area Food Bank will distribute the cans to food pantries and shelters in Central Texas.

Samuel Rhea, a member of the Neighborhood Longhorns Program, said bringing middle school students to a college campus will contribute to their education.

“It is especially important for kids at the middle school level to start thinking about what is next after high school,” Rhea said. “I think it’s really crucial to give these middle school students an opportunity to see campus and talk to students.”

The canned food drive is headed by Orange Outreach, a new initiative launched by Student Government earlier this semester that oversees and coordinates organizations for service projects. The canned food drive that started Monday and ends Friday is Orange Outreach’s second project and has 18 organizations participating, including several sororities and fraternities.

Orange Outreach coordinator Holland Finley said the effect of having multiple student organizations work together on one project is powerful.

“Students’ ability to unite can affect huge change in the Austin community,” Finely said. “That is something we hope we can facilitate through Orange Outreach.”

Orange Outreach has 16 different drop locations for the canned food drive listed on its blog, orangeoutreach.blogspot.com. Among those locations are Gregory Gymnasium and the Student Government office in the Student Activity Center. Finley said since its launch, the organization’s Listserv has gained 7,000 subscriptions and the blog has racked up 600 views.

“Orange Outreach is available to everyone and is a platform where everyone, student or faculty member, can come together on service projects,” Finley said.

Finley said the creation of Orange Outreach is an expansion of SG’s service project efforts. Finley said SG traditionally has a philanthropy chair who oversees one year-long service project. She said Orange Outreach is aiming to coordinate five projects this year. She also said the Orange Outreach blog serves as a communication tool where other service project opportunities are posted.

SG Vice President Wills Brown said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell's office expressed support and approval of the idea of Orange Outreach.

Printed on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 as: Food drive launched by UT organizations