At the FSU chapter of FRN, we value networking as an instrumental tool for generating collaborative ideas and initiatives. Attending the Food Waste and Hunger Summit in 2015 allowed us to do just this. The Summit provided us with a platform to engage in discussions with other chapters around the nation about the tools they have found to be effective in the realms of campus engagement, member outreach, fundraising and community involvement. As a young chapter, we’re still in search of ways to most efficiently expand within our campus and the surrounding Tallahassee area.
Piggybacking off of the dialogue we engaged in at the summit, we decided to create a program called “FRNdly Neighbors” that aims to facilitate ongoing relationships between our chapter other chapters around the country. At every meeting, one of our new members is appointed with the task of researching and communicating with chapter leaders at other schools across the country to explore the ways they operate within their campus communities. The process is simple: we seek out the directors of other chapters through social media and with the contact information provided to us by FRN national, and a constructive discourse inevitably follows. Generally, we try to learn from the successes of each chapter and the diverse methods they employ on their campuses in order to ensure the sustainability and growth of their organization. For example, we’re still in the process of transitioning from recoveries at smaller establishments (Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagels, etc.) to recoveries at the dining halls on our campus. Networking with other chapters to find out the ways in which they have worked with their dining providers and partner agencies to recover food from their dining halls helps us to understand the practices that we need to adopt here at Florida State.
As an evolving chapter, we will continue to prioritize the ability to spark conversations about functionality and growth among other chapters -- it allows us to communicate our goals and foster relationships with other universities similar to ours. Further, joining forces with other chapters provides us with a creative platform on which to devise new recovery and outreach techniques, ultimately contributing to FRN’s objective of reducing food waste and food insecurity in our local communities.
If you’re interested in having your chapter highlighted at our next meeting, please contact myself, Gabrielle Maynard, at firstname.lastname@example.org.