Ian Yaffe '09 to Receive National Student Humanitarian Award

Story posted June 04, 2008

Ian Yaffe '09 is one of five students from across the country selected to receive the Campus Compact's 2008 Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award for showing extraordinary commitment to improving their local and global communities.

Ian Yaffe200.jpg
Ian Yaffe '09

Yaffe, of Rockville, Md., launched Food Forward, a program that transports nearly 3,000 pounds of unused food from campus to the MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program each semester, while working to educate his fellow students about poverty and hunger issues.

Yaffe, said to be the driving force behind Food Forward, has had help in leadership from David Falkof '09 and Katie Kindick '09.

"The student involvement is extremely important both in providing the labor and raising student awareness about the realities of hunger in the Midcoast area," said Mary Lou Kennedy, director of Bowdoin's Dining Service.

The education component has come through another branch of the program — the so-called "Taste for Change" dinners. Students cook gourmet meals and invite other students, faculty, staff and community members, who pay a small fee to attend; proceeds are donated to non-profit organizations. Guest speakers discuss issues of hunger or poverty in the area.

"Ian worked hard to figure out what program would meet community needs, utilize Bowdoin resources and also educate the Bowdoin community," said Sarah Seames, coordinator of community service programs for the College.

"The Food Forward program is a great example of how a student with a passion for an issue can mobilize people and resources to meet a true community need."

Campus Compact gives the Swearer Award annually to five students who have been nominated by their college or university for creating an innovative approach to addressing a social, educational, environmental, health, economic or legal issue within a community.

Yaffe became eligible for the national award after receiving the Maine Campas Compact's 2008 Student Heart and Soul Award, which honors students in Maine who have demonstrated a commitment to using campus-based resources to address community needs.

"The range of depth of these student-led programs is remarkable," notes Maureen F. Curley, president of Campus Compact. "Students at our member colleges and universities clearly care deeply about issues that affect not only their local communities but also communities around the world. What's most impressive, though, is that they are creating effective new avenues to address these issues."

Each award includes a $1,500 prize — $250 to support a service program or organization the student has worked with and $1,250 for the student's professional development. The award is named in honor of the life and work of Howard R. Swearer, the 15th president of Brown University and one of Campus Compact's founders.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents — representing some 6 million students — who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

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