UGSA Fall Food Drive 2012

Between October 16th and November 19th, the University Graduate Student Association (UGSA) collected food to donate to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C. and the recently opened campus food pantry, Feed the Pack. It was a great success!

The food drive was organized by the Community Service and Social committees, two of the seven internal committees in the UGSA. They are composed of graduate students with the stated objectives of administering community service projects each semester and organizing social activities for graduate students.

The real effort, however, came from each academic department and college which has their own graduate student association (GSA) and a representative on the UGSA council. The departmental GSAs provide the UGSA the best opportunity to reach out to all students. Each representative in the UGSA council was provided a collection box and asked to encourage their fellow students to contribute. Faculty and staff also took part, including some faculty members who made cash donations. In total, 18 boxes of food were collected. These were supplemented by the Social Committee's well-attended Bowling Night event on Hillsborough St. and a screening of PhD: The Movie, each of which were free to attend but required two items of canned food for admission. NC State's Union Activities Board generously co-sponsored the Bowling Night.

The Food Drive was an exceptional example of making an impact through the small individual efforts of a large group and the potential of collaboration among the diverse body of graduate students. "It was nice to see how generous people are with giving," says Peter Sotory, a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering Department, which filled two boxes with donations.

"The food drive was a great experience. Serving on the Social Committee, our goal is to create fun, relaxing events for graduate students to take a break from all of their work, enjoy time with friends, and make some new friends in other departments," says Matt Melillo, current Chair of the UGSA Social Committee and graduate student in Chemical Engineering. He adds that, "The committees are very useful. They match up students with similar interests to work together and create opportunities for more graduate students to get involved. They help the UGSA function and accomplish its goals."

So, what is next on the agenda for grad students who are looking to give back or become more connected to their own community?

Melillo reports, "Quiz Cup is an event that was piloted this past month by a few departments. The idea is to organize trivia competitions at local restaurants and bars between many different departments to provide graduate students opportunities to meet new people in a competitive environment. We are also thinking about doing a field day with a bunch of different athletic events between departments. Stay tuned for more exciting events to come."

Rachael Stebbing, Chair of the Community Service Committee and a Veterinary Medicine graduate student, says they are planning for next semester, too. "We hope to participate in Service Raleigh in March 2013 as well as get involved with local schools to talk with high school students about college and graduate school." The committee usually organizes an event around Graduate Education Week, a week in the spring which recognizes the achievements and potential of graduate education at NC State.

The UGSA is the student organization of NC State's graduate students. "The UGSA actively encourages the participation of graduate students in helping to determine what issues are deemed most important to graduate students currently." The council meets in the evenings on the last Monday of each month in the Faculty Senate Chambers. Updates on events can be found through their Facebook page.

Photo from UGSA: Rachael Stebbing and Efrain Rivera Serrano, graduate students in Veterinary Medicine, assist with the food drive.

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