Even after the National Food Recovery Dialogue, we still had energy for one more conference! The day after the NFRD wrapped up, we traveled to Baltimore for the 2016 Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference. The SSCC is a conference that gathers people working on sustainability issues at the university level for two days of workshops, presentations and conversation. The conference was started in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency, which hoped to better understand the roles colleges play in reducing our environmental impact. Since then, the SSCC evolved to be lead by the universities that have a stake in issues of sustainability — such as the University of Maryland — and now covers much wider territory.
FRN was offered the opportunity to present on our work and how we exemplify a sustainable sustainability community in higher education. Speaking to other people who care about food recovery and its impact on the environment and who are working to improve their campuses' impact was a great experience. They offered us a lot of great ideas for how we can continue to build our relationships with campuses, dining service operations and our hunger-fighting partner agencies. These are ideas we're excited to bring back to our whole team and think about as we move into the summer season.
Throughout the SSCC, we connected with many people who had an FRN chapter on their campus and were excited to hear more about our national movement. Many had worked peripherally with our students or staff and had only positive things to say. Others had heard of us and wanted to know more so that they could encourage students at their school to start a chapter. Seeing so many people who were excited about our mission in one room inspired us to keep up the post-NFRD energy and excitement.
Two conferences later, we're more excited than ever to keep fighting food waste and hunger in college and university communities nationwide. Our biggest takeaway from the SSCC? There are FRNds everywhere who are just as passionate about sustainable communities as we are. We can't wait to keep connecting with them.