Tiffany Smith, a fourth year student at Bowling Green State University, is a committed educator and activist dedicated to building communities where all people have sustainable access to healthy and nutritious food. Over the last two years she has worked on a variety of projects both within her academic area of Dietetics and Health Promotion and then as the coordinator of our campus food insecurity/hunger alliance. She has brought together campus and community members and organizations to link resources, expertise, and awareness to make a local impact on food access. Tiffany has combined community based assessment and research, with direct feeding programs through mobile food pantries, to stimulate creative thinking about how our community can work together to end hunger. Her ability to mobilize and connect diverse constituency groups has resulted in the emergence of innovative ideas about how we can impact food access locally, and has created momentum for people to get engaged.
My involvement in taking action to end hunger began with volunteering for the food pantry and meals on wheels in my hometown. This led to an interest in nutrition and a degree in public health/dietetics. At BGSU, I have focused my volunteering, internships, and projects on food insecurity and hunger. Linking my coursework and research to grass roots initiatives has deepened my understanding of systems that shape access to food as key factors in the social determinants of health. I sought out a role as a Civic Action Leader to help grow our campuses commitment to this work including coordinating a steering committee, helping lead a 10-week garden-based nutrition education program for low resourced families, raising funds to bring a mobile food pantry regularly to campus, building coalitions with food pantries and community partners to connect the needs and talents of students and community members. My undergraduate research relates to critical issues in this area, and I am committed to becoming a professional and an activist who will be an advocate and change agent both with the people I serve, and the systems we navigate to create communities that allow everyone to thrive and access healthy, nutritious food.