Lillian McEntire, a second-year student at the University of Central Arkansas, is a student leader spearheading food recovery efforts on campus and in the community. In 2015, she organized a Food Recovery Network chapter at UCA, gathering support from fellow students, campus dining services, and local nonprofit partners. As a food recovery leader, Lillian quickly began both on-campus and inter-campus collaborations to develop sustainable solutions for reducing food waste and addressing food insecurity on campus and in the Conway community. We at UCA are excited to see Lillian's efforts to address an important issue in our state take root and grow for many years to come.
I've become passionate about a number of problems since learning about them in college, including the mistreatment of the environment, women, and African-Americans. I realized that it was possible for me to advance these rights within my community and began to act on that realization. I started a chapter of Food Recovery Network at my college. We take food that would be thrown out, polluting the environment, and donate it to those in need in our community. We also hold drives for donations of perishable foods. I speak to different groups on campus to inform them of the major food insecurity problems we have in Arkansas as well as the effects of food waste. I hope this encourages others to participate in our program or others within the community. By giving tours and speaking to prospective honors students, I also hope to inspire incoming students to be active in our local community. I know that my passion for food insecurity and determination to do something about it will stay with me throughout my academic and professional career as an optometrist.