Undergraduate: Lycoming College 2014
Minor: Environmental Science
Graduate & Doctoral: Louisiana State University 2018
What’s she researching? Emily has been studying how sunlight impacts pesticide exposure in organisms such as crayfish.
Current Job: Louisiana State Research Associate
Favorite Food: Macaroni & cheese
FRN Experience: Emily joined the sustainability committee at Lycoming College as a freshman with her interest in the environment and studies. In 2013, she attended the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) Conference where a student presented about FRN and was inspired to bring this to Lycoming College. PERC is an organization designed for higher education organizations in Pennsylvania to take action towards a sustainable future through conferences and resources.
Today, Lycoming College has recovered over 40,000 pounds of food. When reflecting on how far her chapter has come since 2014, she recalls that her first few recoveries were between 15 and 30 pounds of food. They also could only pick up and deliver the food, due to hesitation from dining. “We weren’t allowed to go into the kitchen or behind the counter.” It took a team effort and multiple conversations to build the trust required for a strong food recovery program. Emily and her teammates would stay until the dining hall closed and talk with the staff to connect with them on a more personal level. The chapter would write thank you cards and pitch in for a gift card to show their appreciation. Over time, those acts of kindness and investments in relationships added up. The FRN Lycoming Chapter is now entirely responsible for the food recovery — from packaging to delivering the food.
“No matter the size of the school or number of pounds recovered, every action matters.”
What is your favorite memory from FRN?
We (Lycoming FRN Chapter) would recover bread from a local market. One day in the summer, there were only three loaves of Italian bread. When I picked up the bread and took it to the American Rescue Workers food pantry, I told them that I was sorry that we only have a few loaves of bread today. They were still grateful and said thank you, but as I turned around to walk to my car, I can hear them cheering "We got the good bread today!"
What is one piece of advice that you would give to CHIPs & FRN Chapters?
That having an advisor is key to keeping the chapter intact after your time; they can help with talking to other faculty members and leverage difficult situations. It is honorable to be part of a network where we want to action to change the food system, but it cannot be done alone.
Emily stays up to date with what her chapter is doing through social media. LSU, where she received her doctorate degree and is now working, also has an active FRN chapter. While she hasn’t had a chance to be involved directly, she encourages her student assistants and others on campus to be involved. Spreading the word about FRN is part of the solution to reducing food waste. The more people that are educated on the topic and how to fix it the better.
What is she up to now?
Emily received her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in December 2018. She is currently preparing to move to North Carolina to continue her post doctoral research. In her spare time, she enjoys fishing with her fiancé, going to the dog park with their german shorthaired pointer, Fenn. Emily also enjoys baking, riding her Peloton spin bicycle. When she has time to read anything other than science, it is books about the nonprofit sector and recycling. Emily recommends reading Begging for Change by Robert Egger, after hearing him speak at the 2014 Food Waste & Hunger Summit.
Fun Fact: After reading Begging for Change, she was not only inspired by the author, but also got the same heart tattoo on her middle finger as him.
When asked about the future of FRN and sustainability: Emily would like to see more reusable materials and for styrofoam to be completely eradicated from campuses. However, she thinks that FRN and the movement are headed in the right direction of reducing food waste and helping end hunger across the country. Emily said it best, “No matter the size of the school or number of pounds recovered, every action matters.”
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