Student honored with national fellowship for project
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University communication major Allegra Weldon of Ponchatoula has been honored with a Newman Civic Fellowship Award for her leadership role in an effort to bring locally, sustainably produced food into the university’s food services.
A junior, Weldon was a major director of the project conducted through Reconnect, a Southeastern student organization developed to educate the campus community about environmental and sustainability issues.
Weldon contacted representatives of “The Real Food Challenge,” a national network designed to bring locally-produced foods onto college campuses. She and other members of Reconnect met recently with Aramark, the contracted food services company on campus, and have been talking with local farmers to ensure the demand for locally grown products could be met. They hope to have the salad bar in the campus cafeteria supplied with all local products in the fall.
“The project Allegra has been working on with her fellow students in Reconnect is amazing,” said David Burley, assistant professor of sociology and faculty adviser for the organization. “They are looking to bring healthier, sustainable and locally produced food into the university food services and to support local farmers, which will in turn enhance the local economy and create more vibrant communities built upon our region’s rich agricultural traditions. This is the real deal.”
The fellowships are awarded by Campus Compact, an organization of more than 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the civic purposes of higher education. Intended to acknowledge college students’ efforts to create lasting change in their communities, the fellowships were awarded to 137 students at 30 institutions in the country. All recipients were nominated by their college presidents or chancellors.