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Program Outcomes

The impact of being a Campus Kitchen volunteer not only changes awareness and attitudes about food insecurity, but students have also described growing in their sense of connectedness and community. The same students who described the urgency and concern about food insecurity near campus also acknowledged the sense of fulfillment and purpose that they have experienced as part of Campus Kitchen’s efforts to build and enrich relationships. These relationships become especially strong with other volunteers at the kitchen. One student indicated:

I’ve met some really amazing individuals through the organization. On my [food preparation] team, some of them are my dearest and most close friends. ... I’ve really been able to form relationships grounded with people who have similar values and morals and perspectives.

Another student observed that the sense of common purpose often creates a close-knit bond of friendship among teams of volunteers, but an attitude of inclusion also abounds at CKSLU:

Campus Kitchen at SLU is a whole community. I have volunteers that come every week, and I love seeing them ... but I am always welcoming new people too. Anyone is welcome to join our little community .... lust show up and give a little bit of your time.

Table 3.1 Student Survey on Service 2012/2013 - CKSLU Volunteers (m = 135)

Item

Percentage

My service experience(s)...

Gave me a greater respect for others’ differences and diverse backgrounds

Enriched my personal identity (e.g., self-understanding, values and beliefs)

Moved me to a deeper concern for social justice and equality

Strengthened/affirmed my faith and/or spirituality

Agree/Strongly Agree

  • 96
  • 87
  • 90
  • 57

Beyond the qualitative evidence of program impact,2 the CSCE’s Student Survey on Service provides quantitative evidence of outcomes associated with being a Campus Kitchen volunteer. Administered in 2012 and 2013, the survey presents a series of items that measure different dimensions of students’ understanding, values, spirituality, and identity. Using a 5-point Likert scale, the survey respondents indicated their level of agreement to each item about the impact of their volunteer experiences. The results for CKSLU volunteers are presented in Table 3.1.

The community impact and learning outcomes evidenced by Campus Kitchen make it a prime example of the transformative potential of Jesuit education. Although the relatively modest impact on students’ spiritual life is perhaps striking, the other areas of growth arc reassuring and indicate that students’ experiences with Campus Kitchen align well with Fr. Arrupe’s call “to form men-and-women-for others” and Fr. Kolvcnbach’s goal “to educate leaders in service.” The students clearly expressed personal changes that follow from their experience. The structural impact of students’ actions is also becoming evident. Campus Kitchen’s operations have gradually produced structural changes in food sustainability practices in the St. Louis community. Their innovative approach to food recovery and reuse has provided a model for sustainable food justice strategics, and other organizations, such as the St. Louis Food Bank and Operation Food Search, have adopted similar food recovery partnerships with other local grocers. Next steps for CKSLU will involve more advocacy work in collaboration with the CSCE’s “Policy Pods” and pushing for legislative policies in the state of Missouri that require large food distributors to implement recovery and reuse plans.

 
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