An adjustment brought to bear by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, regionally and nationally, positioned Ferris State University’s Student Government Association to achieve its annual canned food drive goals.
Student Government Association President Allyson Faulkner, a senior in Political Science from Rockford, said that the intent was to hold the drive and provide resources for Project Starburst, a nonprofit social services organization approaching its 50th anniversary of service in Mecosta and Osceola counties.
“The greater Big Rapids community has given so much to Ferris State University, and it’s always great when we students can make a difference in the community that has done so much for us,” Faulkner said. “I believethat one thing that is so key to our existence on this earth is the ability to make a difference for ourselves, others, and the communities that impact us.”
The Student Government Association responded even as a Sunday, Nov. 15 order by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services meant that the campus would go quiet as of Wednesday, Nov. 18. It was a week ahead of the original plans for the university and Student Government. Faulkner credited Paige Abromaitis, a sophomore in Event Management from Dryden, and the organization’s director of philanthropy, for making effective outreach to contributing groups.
“She put together a virtual guidebook that helped registered student organizations understand how our food drive would work for this year,” Faulkner said. “In order to allow for contactless drop-off, we had organizations email Student Government the name of their organization and how many nonperishables they were donating. Once those items arrived outside of our office, we had one of our representatives confirm the count of the items and secure them. We believe this method will serve us well for many years to come.”
Multiple Ferris student organizations took part in the canned food drive that collected 1,123 nonperishable food items.
“The organization that brought in the most product for Project Starburst was Lambda Alpha Epsilon, followed by the university’s chapter in the Aspiring Educators of the Michigan Education Association, then Omicron Delta Kappa,” Faulkner said. “We established a point system, with a priority on foods to dress out a Thanksgiving meal, along with pantry staples like peanut butter. The first-place winner had the potential of earning $500 to put on a celebration for their student organization, with those grants for organizations coming from Student Government funds. Other donating groups we want to show our appreciation to include the Hospitality Management Student Association, the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and the Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society group.”
Faulkner further encouraged individuals and student groups to find supportive action motivation.
“I believe the college experience is all about becoming a well-rounded person, and getting a degree,” Faulkner said. “Ferris offers many opportunities to get involved, so you can better yourself by helping others. If anyone is interested in getting involved, volunteering, or giving back, Student Government would welcome you or help you get involved. Please feel free to reach out with an email to the Student Government Office since we will have many more opportunities like this in the future.”