Students recognized for selfless service at inaugural Community Engagement Impact Summit

May 7, 2018
| By: Taylor Phillips-Rodriguez

Texas A&M University students were recently recognized for their efforts to end hunger in Texas as part of the Hunger Free Project, a Texas A&M Tier One-funded grant.  This intercollegiate effort facilitates meaningful, sustainable interactions between Texas A&M students and organizations representing core values of leadership and selfless service in the community

Impact Summit 2After working all semester tackling problems facing local food banks and pantries, 20 teams presented their solutions at the inaugural Community Engagement Impact Summit on the Texas A&M campus. Industrial distribution students worked closely with peers from many other disciplines who were part of a class offered by the Department of Sociology to help local food agencies in need.

Evaluators included directors of non-profit agencies from the local Bryan-College Station area, champions of engaged scholarship on the Texas A&M campus, Central Texas Food Bank representatives, as well as specially invited guests.

“They did exceptionally well,” said Dr. Malini Natarajarathinam, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution (who spearheaded the initiative.

Impact Summit 1“All the feedback the presentation evaluators provided us about the student presentations was impressive. The evaluators were clearly impressed with the students’ presentation skills and how they had structured their presentations to focus on solutions and impact.”

Evaluators were so impressed by the teams that deliberations took almost an hour and were unable to narrow down their top three choices. Instead, a total of five teams were selected as winners.

Central Texas Food Bank, a strategic partner in the Hunger Free Project, awarded nearly $20,000 to the teams so they could implement their proposed solutions.

The winners include:

Academic and Community Engagement Award Winner

Group 12 (Caritas of Waco, Agency Mentor: Buddy Edwards)

Trevor Bartz, Celine Jacques, Emily Kenny, Christine Sanford

Community Impact Award Winner ($10,000)

Group 16 (Hutto Community Food Pantry, Agency Mentor: Connie Gooding)

Cody Cooper, Patricia Dossett, Mathew Romanchuk, Rosario Vega-Tirado

Community Impact Award Runner-up ($5,000)

Group 6 (Helping Hands Ministry of Belton, Agency Mentor: Tasha Roberts)

Daniels Mengual Avero, Lauren Powers, Shelby Schlesselman, Carter Shults

Community Impact Award Runner-up ($3,500)

Group 20 (Micah 6, Agency Mentor: Barry Smith)

Blake Broussard, Mateo Camacho, Ricardo Duenez, Kyle Gardner, Kelsie Warren

Community Impact Award Runner-up ($1,000)

Group 19 (Covenant UMC Pantry, Agency Mentor: Dan Schultz)

Allison Reese, Peter Muller, Lukas Vogt, Patrick Wylie.

“This program gives our students the opportunity to work on a truly collaborative effort,” said department head Dr. Reza Langari. “They are learning skills and knowledge that they need to assume moral leadership and solve societal problems both locally and worldwide.”

Two other programs were recognized at the summit, including the service-learning faculty fellows program as well as presentation of the 2018 Margaret Rudder Community Service Awards.

This summit was a collaborative venture across the Texas A&M campus community. The Department of Student Activities Leadership and Service Center in the Division of Student Affairs planned the event with assistance from the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution and the Department of Sociology. Public Partnership and Outreach in the Office of the Provost provided support for the luncheon.

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