Jennifer Rodzianko is currently pursuing a Master's of Science in Human Nutrition; her passion for resolving nutrition-related disparities by addressing food insecurity makes her an exceptional representative of the Newman Civic Fellowship. In higher education, one-step to achieving educational equity and closing the achievement gap is through meeting students' basic needs including food and Jennifer's volunteer work with Food Forward and the LA Food Policy Center made her a perfect fit to be the lead student coordinator of the CSUN Pop-up Pantry. A new program implemented in the CSUN campus in fall 2018, the CSUN Pop-up Pantry is an extension of our existing campus pantry. Jennifer's systematic approach in successfully delivering over 3000 pounds of fresh produce during the fall 2018 semester is a testament to her aptitude for solving the social issues related to educational equity and climate change. Jennifer has clearly articulated the double benefit of a pop-up pantry in reducing food insecurity to support educational equity and reducing food waste to mitigate the impact the global food system has on climate change. From putting together the vision board for the layout, to the budget, data collection, marketing, outreach, and supervision of over 15 volunteers for this project, Jennifer has excelled in implementing the CSUN pop-up pantry in all aspects of its delivery. These activities speak to her motivation, enthusiasm, leadership and cooperative spirit in being a productive and significant contributor to solving civic concerns and issues.
I first began working towards social and environmental equity as an undergraduate at CSUN in 2016. I began volunteering with the produce recovery agency, Food Forward, where I helped collect fresh produce from farmer's markets, local orchards, and backyards to distribute to hunger relief agencies, spanning eight counties in Southern California. I especially loved doing this because of the hands-on experience. I was directly helping in providing nutritious food to populations that lack access, combining my passion for reducing food insecurity while incorporating more nutrition into people's diets. My work with Food Forward solidified my desire to work at the intersection of nutritional science, community health and environmental justice. In my first semester of graduate school, I joined the CSUN Food Pantry team and became the student coordinator for the development and execution of our newest program, the CSUN Pop-Up Pantry. In partnership with a local food bank/non-profit organization, MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity) we provided over 3,000 pounds of reclaimed fresh produce, which would have otherwise been wasted, to over 600 students in our first semester of operation alone. In the future, I aim to continue my work towards making our community more equitable, healthy and sustainable.