The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Dartmouth's 2012 Kramer Prize Awarded to Establish Dartmouth Food Connection

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The Rockefeller Center advises many student projects throughout the year. One of the recent projects, Dartmouth Food Connection, was the sole winner of the $3,000 Kramer Prize from Dartmouth College. The Kramer Prize, endowed in honor of Milton Sims Kramer ’54, is a monetary award administered by the Office of the President that serves to promote “Dartmouth Fellowship.” It is given annually as a grant for a student or student group to engage in a research, service, or programming project that benefits the Dartmouth community.

Danielle Thompson, Assistant Director at the Center, is one of the advisors to the newly established Dartmouth Food Connection. "Sarah-Marie and Kate have tremendous passion for the issues, a proven track record of activism and advocacy, and desire to be agents of change within the Dartmouth and larger Upper Valley community." Sarah-Marie has participated in several Rockefeller Center programs, including our Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP).

The Dartmouth Food Connection is now seeking students to serve on its Leadership Board, with applications due by Monday, April 9th. Students who have completed MLDP, or have attended Rocky Special Ops workshops in Event Planning, Project Management, or Social Media are particularly encouraged to apply.

Kramer Prize 2012: Dartmouth Food Connection (DFC)
Kate Burns’13 and Sarah-Marie Hopf’13 

Dartmouth Food Connection (DFC) seeks to enable the Dartmouth community to interact meaningfully with each other and the local community, using food as a medium. Realizing that food insecurity and hunger are major problems in the Upper Valley Community, we have been working for the past two years in collaboration with the administration, Dartmouth Dining Services (DDS), and the Tucker Foundation to address this need through a series of hunger awareness and food donation events. 

A campus-wide survey that we conducted on DBA usage during winter 2011 showed that many students had leftover DBA (on average $260 per term, 566 student responses). While the majority of students chose to spend their leftover DBA on meals for their friends, many spent it on items such as cases of Vitamin Water and other non-perishable foods, more expensive food items, or more meals per day - for the sake of using up their dining money rather than out of a real need or desire. Most students wished for a more meaningful use of their leftover money such as turning it into food for the local community. This led us to organize a Hunger Awareness/DBA Donation dinner in collaboration with The Tucker Foundation and DDS during spring 2011 during which students could purchase a pasta dinner using DBA. We raised a total of $5510, which was given to Willing Hands, a non-profit organization that provides fresh produce to people in need throughout the Upper Valley, to purchase fresh produce throughout the summer as needed. We also organized two very successful campus-wide food drives at the end of spring and fall 2011, benefiting The Haven and Willing Hands. DFC plans to take this work to the next level realizing the ability of food as a powerful connector.

DFC examines a wide variety of issues such as food insecurity and hunger, malnutrition, food access, food policy and politics, organic, GMO, and local foods, sustainability and food waste, and the social and cultural life of food. Our advisers come from major centers on campus, and DFC seeks to attract students who represent a wide range of views and expertise. This spring, we will recruit and develop an executive board and work with staff and faculty advisors to start off our initiative.

We seek to organize events that allow Dartmouth community members to explore the importance of food to their culture, identity and to social interactions at Dartmouth; promote communication and interaction across campus; and foster citizenship, giving students the opportunity to engage with the real world and to bring their academic knowledge to life through direct service. The initiative includes quarterly hunger awareness dinners, food drives, speaker events and discussions, cultural potlucks, events with Dartmouth’s organic farm and local organizations, and a website that maps the amount and distribution of food donations made visually, includes informative links on food issues, and gives students the opportunity to share their personal experiences with food (family recipes, cross-cultural experiences with food, hunger and food insecurity, sustainability). DFC seeks to set a positive example and showcase Dartmouth spirit and unity to other universities across the country by inspiring them to take care of each other and their respective local communities as well.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences