We are the Standard

 FRNds at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. 

FRNds at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. 

I have been reflecting on a conversation I had with FRN Advisory Board member Robert Egger, the powerhouse behind DC Central Kitchen. I ran into Robert as he was leaving an event and I was just entering though we had hoped to meet there to chat. He remarked on how busy I was lately as I got into the elevator, to which I quipped, “I’m just trying to keep up with you.” His response was, “Well, I’m not going to make it easy for you.”

I saw Robert again the next day, and we finally were able to have our much-awaited conversation where he actually expounded on his comment that has stuck with me to this day. What Robert was uncovering in his comment is that, we are all working incredibly hard at what we do. For all of us, it’s being a student, it’s being part of the food recovery movement, it’s being an agent of change. It is seeing solutions where none existed and executing that solution with potentially limited resources. For Robert -- who has been in the movement for a very long time and has shaped a lot of what it looks like today -- it is in his best interest to set the bar for newcomers like me very, very high. We have to think strategically and collaboratively at all times. This work demands that we don’t take any steps back. You have to be a baller.

When I think of our network in 39 states across the country and what we have achieved, and where we have set our sights for the future, I know that all of our students are the standard. They are the high bar constantly being raised higher by sharing knowledge, not taking no for an answer, experimenting, and recovering more and more food on their college campuses and in your communities. They are the high bar who has the ear of restaurants, businesses, and policymakers. They are the high bar who will take their experiences with FRN and provide answers to those problems yet to be solved. They are the high bar, and they’re recruiting volunteers who will only help raise that bar higher and higher. 

As our network grows, we’ll welcome newcomers with open arms, but, like Robert said, “We’re not going to make it easy.” The bar is set pretty high, after all.