Furman receives grant to help reduce food waste and address food insecurity
Furman University is among 27 academic institutions that will receive funding from PepsiCo Recycling for campus sustainability efforts.
Now in its third year, PepsiCo’s Zero Impact Fund (ZIF) allows representatives of eligible colleges or universities to submit proposals to create or strengthen green initiatives on campus. A panel of judges then votes on the most impactful projects, with winners receiving up to $10,000 toward making those ideas a reality.
Furman’s proposal, which addresses food waste and food insecurity, was recognized as one of the most unique projects among the winning group this year.
Furman’s project will assess the extent of food insecurity across campus among students and staff; look to limit over-ordering and over-production of food for catered events; develop and pilot a text notification system to redistribute excess food from catered events, particularly to those who are food insecure; expand and enhance a food recovery system for remaining foods from catered events to be distributed to a food pantry; and calls for composting any remaining food waste at Furman’s organic farm.
Wes Dripps, executive director of Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, commented on the collaborative project between the Shi Center for Sustainability, Bon Appétit Management Company, The Furman Farm, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Food waste and food insecurity – two issues that appear to be at odds with each other – are growing problems on college campuses. National studies estimate that 22 million pounds of food are wasted each year on U.S. college campuses, yet 20 percent of students at four-year institutions report low food security. This project will take a comprehensive systems approach to addressing both of these issues at Furman,” he said.
“At PepsiCo, we believe that building a circular economy is the key to a sustainable future,” said Tom Mooradian, manager of environmental sustainability. “This year’s winning projects are largely focused on implementing circular economies on a small scale within college communities, demonstrating their impact in a highly tangible way. Projects of this scale within closed campus environments can create precedent and then build toward a model for implementation in wider society.”
PepsiCo Recycling aims to help colleges and universities pursue projects that will have long-term impacts on their communities, with the ultimate goal of closing the loop between environmental sustainability and economic stability.