Walsh welcomed university leaders, students and hunger advocates to campus for the first international food waste and hunger summit, “Summit Squared: One Movement. Exponential Impact,” March 23-24. The conference is a combination of Campus Kitchens Project’s Fourth Annual Food Waste & Hunger Summit and the 12th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) Summit.
“We are honored to be able to bring these combined events to our campus,” said Rachel Hosler, Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning at Walsh University. “We will have national and world leaders at Walsh sharing their knowledge, teaching our students advocacy and ultimately mobilizing our community in the fight against hunger and food waste. Approximately 60,000 Stark County residents are food insecure. We believe Walsh students, staff and faculty can lead the efforts in combatting hunger in our community and beyond.”
Walsh was chosen as the site for the March Hunger Conference to highlight how a small, private university can make an impact on the fight against hunger. By co-locating the two hunger summits, attendees will have access to broader networks of leaders, receive more diverse training and learn how to replicate programs for their local communities and engage in inclusive dialogues about hunger, food waste, sustainability and social justice.
“There are so many people and groups in Northeast Ohio who are starting to make a difference. Some of these are big organizations and some small grassroots efforts,” said Walsh Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Douglas Palmer, Ph.D. “But they all matter in the fight against hunger. That’s why we’re so proud to be the first ‘small’ university to host this event. It really means that no matter the size of the organization, we all can have an impact. This is a great event for Walsh University, but really, this is an honor for all the great work being done in our area.”
As a pre-conference event, college presidents from across the country met for the Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) Leaders Forum, March 23-24, also at Walsh. Supported by international nonprofit Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Forum focused on food waste and open data – two critical issues that if solved could greatly accelerate global food and nutrition security. The two-day forum included a dinner on Thursday, March 23, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a keynote address by NFL Player/child hunger advocate Kelvin Beachum.
This is the first time university leaders have gathered to collectively address these issues. Participants will outline practical steps to define how universities can take a leadership role in changing attitudes about the sharing of information and knowledge and reducing consumer and campus-wide food waste. PUSH is an initiative started by Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute in the College of Human Sciences to utilize the collective power of university presidents in the global fight against hunger.
The Summit Squared conference included a Food Waste Workshop where student leaders were trained in using a multimedia toolkit for “Trash Hunger, Not Food,” an initiative developed by Universities Fighting World Hunger and The Campus Kitchens Project with support from The Rockefeller Foundation.
The toolkit, found at www.campusfoodwaste.org, provides best practices and tools for students as well as administrators to reduce food waste on campuses. In addition to student presentations and workshops, the two-day Summit Squared conference featured internationally recognized keynote speakers including:
- Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America
- Tony Hall, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger
- Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank
- Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President, AARP Foundation
- Roger Thurow, Author/Senior Fellow on Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Walsh University has joined the fight against world hunger in other ways as well. The inaugural cohort of Br. Francis Blouin Global Scholars focused their studies on food insecurity and sustainability issues. During a semester in Rome in 2015, the students interned with Caritas Internationalis, the humanitarian and international development organization of the Vatican. In 2014, Walsh University was the first Ohio institution to sign and formally join the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security. Walsh President Richard Jusseaume attended the first official gathering of Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) at the United Nations for the commemorative signing.