Julia Steele, a third year student at Georgia College and State University, has led campus initiatives to address issues of sustainability and also issues of food insecurity. While at Georgia College, Julia has been active on our Sustainability Council, serving as the Events Coordinator and also as the Sustainability Fee Program Assistant Director. Most notable, however has been Julia's work to bring the Campus Kitchens project to our campus. Through her work organizing, planning, and implementing this project, which seeks to alleviate food insecurity in our community, Julia has indeed demonstrated the initiative and drive that will no doubt carry her forth as a leader in her areas of focus, namely, in applying sustainable solutions to social issues.
Two years ago, I learned that America wastes a staggering 82.5 million tons of food each year! Yet low-income communities of color and rural areas are still experiencing limited access to affordable, nutritious meals. However, that statistic alone was not the driving force to my shift in becoming a civic leader towards fighting rural hunger. The idea to divert food from landfills while serving my community did not emerge until I began engaging with my community and becoming aware of issues beyond campus boundaries. If I could give one advice to students, I would advise them to volunteer as much as possible and take note of the things that need improvement within the community. Personally, I began to think of ways I could apply my education and skills to solve local challenges. I believe this smaller-scale application will well prepare students for the "real world" and push them to become an effective agent for change. With my passion towards sustainability and public health, I plan to stay active in progressing our society towards a healthier future. I look forward to encouraging the people of my generation to become thoughtful change-makers and to cohesively apply our skills to find lasting solutions.