We are conducting interviews with graduating leaders to share their stories and inspire UMBC students for years to come. We can inspire others to enact and lead progress towards a more sustainable world. Please respond to the following questions:
1. In what ways were you involved in Sustainability efforts on campus during your time as a student?
During my time as a student, I co-founded the Food Recovery Network (FRN) on campus. FRN takes leftover food from the dining facilities on campus and delivers it to homeless shelters in Baltimore.
2. What compelled you be involved? What did you get out of the experiences?
I found FRN’s website while I was looking to get involved in some sort of community service. It seemed like a fantastic idea that I assumed had been implemented at every university in the US. To my surprise, I found out that only 3 schools in Maryland did this, obviously not including UMBC. FRN has the ability to reduce food waste and use that food in a productive method by giving to the needy- having this program at every school seems obvious. UMBC disposes vast amounts of food every week, and there are many shelters that need more food to feed the less fortunate. I find it eye-opening going to Helping Up Mission every week to deliver food. The people there are very grateful for the food we throw away so easily.
3. What changes have you seen take place during your time at UMBC?
The biggest change I’ve seen during my time at UMBC has been with the people on this campus. I have seen people that did not express an interest in volunteering decide to help out with FRN. This made me realize that many of us do not lack the interest or motivation to help, but simply cannot seem to find opportunities.
4. What is your vision for the state of sustainability at UMBC 5 years from now?
As far as food waste, I hope that in 5 years, there is virtually none. Every single day, volunteers will recover the leftover food from every dining facility and give it to people in need.
5. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through your work and efforts that you wish to share with UMBC students?
When trying to create, do not worry about failing. You should expect it to fail. In fact, it’s better if it fails, so now you know more of what not to do. Only from there can you create good things. For example, in our first semester of starting FRN, there were a few unforeseen administrative obstacles that we had to overcome. Another key thing to keep in mind is maintaining good communication with everyone involved. It is impossible for someone to know your thought process unless you tell them.
Jamison is graduating with a B.S. in Computer Science. Thank you, Jamison!
Photo of Jamison leading the first Food Recovery Network collection at UMBC.