Feb 032016

My time at Ohio University has opened my eyes to some of the privileges I’ve had in life. The most substantial being my availability to food. There has never been a time in my life where I have not been able to feed myself, and this is something I believe has blinded many of my fellow students as well. We all have heard the saying “There are starving children in China, eat your dinner.” but may of us don’t realize that there are starving families in Athens. I think that a project that could open the eyes of the student body to the region the live in, and create a call to action for local businesses to get involved could really be an amazing opportunity to help fight the poverty that surrounds this wealthy University.

I think this project would be best completed in steps.

Step 1: Student Awareness

This portion of the plan would involve bringing information to the students. Putting posters around campus that highlight some of the facts regarding Appalachian Poverty, maybe highlighting some groups that are already active in Athens that they may have only heard of by chance, or a widely unused resources on campus, using residence halls to participate in food drives and promotion. Step 1 is important because if students are unaware of the issue, they won’t act as a support system for our project.

Step 2: Local Business Participation

Small business are the backbone of Athens culture, and I think getting them involved in a community they have been apart of for years would be a great move. This could be smaller scale initiative such as making a “Pay it Forward” program where students can buy meals ahead of time for people in Athens who may not be able to afford it, or having reading materials about the poverty in the area, or donation boxes for local organizations. This can help support Step 1 by bringing community members and off campus residents who may not be in areas on campus that Step 1 would affect.

Step 3: University Involvement.

This is the most in-depth part of the initiative, which would be to somehow work out a system with Ohio University where the dining halls would decrease waste by turning them in to a soup-kitchen once a week. This plan is based off the idea that food  from the dining halls cannot be donated because of health regulations, but if they were use utilize the left over food they have at the end of the week, they could greatly benefit the community. This will be more difficult to coordinate because it involves going through the University and there will have to be compromises based on costs for the university etc.

I am excited to be able to present this idea through Athens’ Own. I hope that this could be a great chance to get Ohio University more involved in its community and make a lasting impact on the people who surround the school.

  17 Responses to “Feb 3 Project Proposal”

  1. Good morning Halley, how would you relate the above proposal to Alyse’s post http://athensown.biz/planning-the-plan-part-1-letting-go/ ?

    • My first reaction when reading Alyse’s post was to think how my project proposal may resemble what Alyse mentions, about either picking up turtles or building a world where turtles don’t need saving. I think my plan is a little bit of both. I think that I originally saw a problem, and my response was “lets fix it”; the direct action approach of saving the turtle. I was thinking about more instantaneous response to the problem, not outlining a way to prevent the problem from ever happening. However I wasn’t simply saying “people are hungry so I’ll feed them”, I did attempt to make a program that could help a more long term issue;but I didn’t prevent the turtles from ever needing to be saved.

      Looking at her article now that I have been working more directly with Athens’ Own for a few weeks, I’d say that taking Alyse’s approach would mean that I would take my proposal a step higher and try to create a applicable plan that other colleges could use to fix similar issues in their area, or even bigger and see how I can work to eradicate poverty for the future.

      Though I agree with what Alyse is saying, I do think its also important to work within your means. By this, I mean that if right now the best I can do is donate canned goods, than I should. If I am able to work with the university to create better ties between them and their community, than I should. If I have the power to help create a government program that could employ Appalachian families and provide them with a reliable food source, than I should. I think that you can look at a project as a single step in a never ending stair case that is moving towards solving the larger more fundamental issues that one student alone can’t fix over night.

      • Halley, how would you relate ‘higher steps’ to compound interest?

        • When you are compounding, you are essentially building up layers of improvement, very similar to steps. SO as you invest time and effort in to a person or a project, it will naturally grow and improve. Focusing your energy on that growth and always trying to achieve a greater compound interest, or reaching the next step on that staircase, means you are truly making a difference.

          • So in your reply to May 16 reflections, regarding compound interest, you speak of involving other students.
            How might you bring that over here to your project proposal.

          • We have talked about how having a diverse team is important with projects. In this situation, to improve my proposal it would be beneficial to have students of different disciplinary backgrounds to help ratify this project. As a business student, I may only have the knowledge of marketing and management aspects, where as a journalism student or a student who works with culinary services could provide different resources to the team that could advance progress. Even different disciplines of business may be able to add more to the project, such as a finance major.

            I also think for this project the more students you have pushing it forward, the more respect that the University will give the project and more likely we would be able to implement the project. I think getting students with meal plans to speak up, or at least agree with my future team, about the meal “swipes” that go to waste and how they can be used without costing the University money is essential. Students Are Key.

          • So what steps have you taken towards building this diverse team?

        • Aside from using Athens’ Own as a resource to get more people interested in this type of work, I have also talked with people in my business classes who are interested. I have talked with other RA’s, who are passionate and hard working people, who have said they would like to work on something like this. I also have fiends who are Journalists who would love to participate in a project like this. I think the next step is to go to these people who are interested and get started.

          I think this would be a great opportunity for me to use the FEMA training I acquired to become and Incident Commander and to build a team using the Incident Command System of management. Creating a team of strong leaders all working towards a goal.

          • In what way(s) have you already used Athens’ Own as a resource?

          • Second, as a business, in what ways do you think OU plans for and incorporates unused swipes in pricing its meal plans?

  2. Athens’ Own has been a resource in two ways. 1. We posted job postings on to bobcat career link, and I think that the students we are looking for as possible Interns would be people who would be interested in a project like this. 2. Having discussions about the different types of majors that could be helpful in a team helped me to open up my mind to making sure as I build a team, I am looking for diverse and passionate team members.

    • What could the mission of team be so we are not just moving another turtle?
      What are some of the ways we have already discussed?

  3. I am not sure how OU has priced their meal plans, mainly because there is a large discrepancy between how much I pay and how much access I then have to meal swipes. I think a better method of supplying food may to not to calculate how many swipes are leftover, but how much food is being thrown away when meals aren’t being completely used.

    I think the real mission here, besides feeding people in and around Athens, is that it’s time to get millennials and students to take a step outside of their comfort zone and realize they are part of a community wherever they are, and if it come to it, those are the people they may end up being with if there was a crisis of any kind. Making sure to be an involved member of your community is almost a survival instinct that students in this millennial age may not recognize.

    I think the mission of this project can be helping young adults all over make these connections now, so that communities can flourish. This way there aren’t these “Town to Gown” gaps that can keep student from being a beneficial member of their campus right off of campus.

    • Excellent understanding, insight, and perspective, Halley.
      Do you think it might be helpful and doable to incorporate community connection into the game?

  4. I think it would be beneficial to try to incorporate a way to include community members in a game like that. Having them as players sets the tone for how students should interact with community members often.

    • In what ways can you picture where the student has to go out and find community?

      • I think that finding community is both simple and also requires a good deal of effort. This is because, referencing the blog post on what is local, we are constantly surrounded by possible communities simply by living in an area or participating in certain activities. To me this means that it is simple to “find” community. However, I think that it is more difficult to become submerged in a community. In regards to the game, a participant wouldn’t be achieving this goal without becoming part of the community they are in; without closing the town-gown gap they really aren’t learning and growing much. I think some ways that these participants could truly find community would be to do things like visit the farmers market and write a story about an individual that makes a substantial impact, or to even visit each vender to get an expansive knowledge of the history of the Athens Farmers’ market.

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