The Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships’ 2011 Fall Day of Service event, iCAN, raised over 5,200 pounds of food, equaling over $1,000 in monetary value to benefit several local hunger relief agencies.

iCAN is a part of the center’s Season of Service initiative to get students involved in community service throughout the year by offering large-scale service events.

This year, seven teams participated by raising food items for an assigned hunger relief agency and on Sept. 24 the teams designed and built a canned food sculpture. The teams worked collaboratively with their assigned hunger relief agency to collect food and create a design that met the judging criteria; most creative, most Hokie spirit, and most food items collected. The sculptures were judged by two individuals in the competition; Jack Davis, the dean of the college of architecture and urban studies, and Jessica Wirgau, executive director of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

The SERVE Living Learning Community team won first place with their rendition of Lane Stadium. The Highlander Helpers, a backpack program in Radford, was the recipient of all of the food SERVE collected.  OxFAM International took second place, donating their collected food to Plenty! in Floyd.

iCAN not only gave students a fun and unique opportunity to learn more about hunger relief efforts in the New River Valley, but also a chance to closely partner and interact with agencies outside of the Virginia Tech community.

“My favorite part was definitely the atmosphere,” said one of the student team members. “It was so cool to be surrounded by so many people who wanted to help and even though it was a competition it never really felt like it.”

Another student team member said her favorite part was “seeing our food bank partner so excited about our donation.”  

 The center also plans to hold additional food drives during November, which is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness month. The collected food will go to local hunger relief agencies that did not benefit from the event.

The next large-scale service event within the Season of Service initiative is the annual MLK Daycare Facelift, taking place on Jan. 21, 2012. Registration opened Oct. 10.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Kayla Hastrup.