National Philanthropy Day Awards Vanderbilt Students

Posted on October 9, 2014

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Vanderbilt students Will McCollum and Mac Muir were awarded the “Rising Star Youth Fundraising Volunteers” for their work with Vanderbilt Campus Dining and the Share-A-Side program. The National Philanthropy Day awards will be held November 5. Seen above is director, Camp Howard, filming a piece about working with Will and Mac to air at the ceremony.

Howard said that over the years, he has encountered his share of students who want to reallocate money from the meal plan to benefit various campus organizations and causes. “One of the most interesting things about Mac and Will’s initiative, however, was that it wasn’t tied to any specific organization,” Howard said. “These are just two students who had an idea and wanted to do something good.”

Muir and McCollum proposed Share-A-Side, in which patrons at The Commons Dining Center can forgo picking up a second side item with their meal in favor of donating its value to Second Harvest.

“At Vanderbilt we put a lot of effort into the quality of the food, and we encourage students to compile a complete meal during a dining experience,” Howard said, noting that an entrée, two side items and a drink constitute a “meal” when it is rung up by a cashier. The brilliance of Share-A-Side, he said, is that it doesn’t compromise the nutritional integrity of a meal, while also simplifying the donation process.

Those who wish to participate in Share-A-Side pick up a wooden nickel instead of a second side item; the cashier rings up its value; and the nickels are deposited into a collection jar. Vanderbilt makes a donation to Second Harvest in the amount of the collected nickels. And because Second Harvest is able to maximize the funds it receives, one donated side item from Vanderbilt is equivalent to one Second Harvest meal for a hungry member of the community.