Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Doesn't Always = Tofurkey

By Gina Meucci

Whether you are headed home for a long thanksgiving break, or expecting a household full of people, Thanksgiving can be a stressful and cumbersome holiday. If your Thanksgiving is like mine, full of family and friends, it is a great time to get together and be thankful. Instead of your Thanksgiving being a burden full of chores and errands this year let it be fun and merry.  Like most holidays, one way that you can avoid all the last minute errands and grocery trips, is to plan ahead.
One way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving is to shop wisely for your turkey.  This doesn’t mean you have to serve tofurkey at dinner, but there are ways to enjoy thanksgiving eating a turkey that is healthy for you and the environment.
The key to this is to go local. It is simple in that the fewer miles between farm and plate, the less energy must be expended on transportation. You may have not heard of a local turkey farm but there are plenty of small farms that are willing to match your thanksgiving turkey. Find a turkey farm in your area by searching HERE.
Another way to practice an eco-friendly Thanksgiving is stay close to home. The holidays are known for having packed airports so instead of traveling this year start a new tradition with family and friends who live close to you. If you have to travel try getting there by train. It is far better for the environment than air travel or your personnel vehicle.

Other Thanksgiving tips:
-          Buy food items that use the least amount of packaging and
-           look for items that contain recycled post-consumer content.
-          Make sure you review your food list multiple times before going to the store to reduce the number of times you drive there.
-          Bring reusable bags to the store with you.
-          Instead of using plastic forks and paper plates, use your flatware for dinner which is better for the environment.
-          On thanksgiving turn down the heat, because all the cooking you do will heat the house, anticipate the oven warmth.
-          Suggest carpooling to your friends who are going to the same place and live close-by.
-          For leftovers use reusable containers.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Washington State Chef of the Year Visits Campus Kids

By: Katie Kaiser

Campus Kids had a special visitor last week- Washington state’s 2011 chef of the year Elijah Dalager.  He came to share his story and a healthy meal with the youth of the program.  Campus Kids invited Dalager to the program as a part of the new Dare to Dream initiative.  Dare to Dream challenges program staff to build a culture of creativity and motivation by utilizing resources from the University and Spokane community so that the kids can begin to imagine a bright future for themselves. 

Like many students, Dalager struggled in the traditional school subjects.  “I didn’t like to read,” he confessed “and I was terrible at math.”  His passion for cooking was ignited during his time as a student at the Skill Center, an alternative Spokane public high school.  “Now I love to read my cookbooks, and I use math every day at work.”  He encouraged the kids to stick with school and seek out their own passions offering himself as an example of a success story. 

Dalager had the Campus Kids’ undivided attention as he instructed them how to make orange infused popcorn and turkey pinwheel wraps.  The kids enthusiastically ate their creations at the end.  The food was provided with funding from the Florence Wasmer Fund for Children and Families.  For the second year in a row, the Mentoring Programs received a grant from the Wasmer Fund to provide healthy meals for program participants as well as nutritional education. 

Dalager’s time with the Campus Kids not only filled their bellies with wholesome, healthy food, but also gave them another potential path as they continue to think about their futures.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reflection on the CCASL Retreat

By: Alison-Claire Caputo

The CCASL Leadership Retreat this fall was my first time seeing the beauty of Camp Cross and my first time having the chance to meet all the other student leaders and all of the CCASL staff. This could have proven to be a very overwhelming and daunting experience, as I knew nearly no one, but of course it was the exact opposite! Everyone I met was incredibly welcoming and friendly, and ready to bring me into the fold. On the retreat we were split into smaller groups and assigned one CCASL staff member to be our group leader. What I loved most about this idea is that I will be with my group for the rest of the year, and we have great plans to keep in touch and keep each other motivated throughout the year. Just last weekend my group went to our leader Sima’s house for chili and pumpkin carving and to check in on how the semester is going. Another great part of the retreat was the trust building exercises we attempted in larger groups. This allowed more people to meet each other and work together, and to realize how many other students are involved in CCASL and what a great support system we have in each other. Finally, a few CCASL leaders gave testimonials about how Service Learning and Social Justice have shaped and changed their lives, and the chance to hear these more intimate portraits was a great gift. I realized that aligning yourself to these principles is a journey, and a different one for everyone, but never to give up on our drive to see a better future for the world.