Each semester, new ideas are being cultivated in the classroom as both students and staff alike discover new approaches to leading on campus and in the community. Last spring, Lucas Johnson, a junior and leadership studies minor, found a way to help move the needle on an issue he cared deeply about in his class, LEAD 350: Culture and Context in Leadership.
In LEAD 350, students work in teams to execute a self-directed project that attempts to change the way social identity is recognized and represented by systems. Drawing upon the knowledge he gained about food insecurity in LEAD 212: Introduction to Leadership Concepts, Johnson knew that he wanted to join the efforts of those on campus working to alleviate food insecurity.
Food insecurity is “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Many students, in fact, 40% of financially-struggling students at K-State, are consistently fighting to get enough nutrition each day. It’s not rare for students to find themselves skipping meals so that they can pay for their books and tuition and all of the other expenses that come with being a college student.
LEAD 350 gave space for Johnson to conceptualize a plan of action. He came up with the idea for Round Up, a joint effort with Cats’ Cupboard, the K-State food pantry, and the Union Kitchen. Round Up allows individuals to round up their purchases to the next dollar at the Union Kitchen to benefit Cats’ Cupboard.
The proceeds from Round Up help Cats’ Cupboard continue to provide access to nutritious food and support through initiatives that promote health, success, and well-being. The pantry invites all K-State students, faculty and staff to their location in 009 Fairchild Hall where they are welcome to take food, hygiene and cooking equipment that correspond with their personal needs.
“At the end of the day, what really pushed me through executing my idea was thinking that there was a real opportunity that can help people out. If not me, then who else? If I can take the time and energy from myself, it can really end up impacting a lot of other people,” said Johnson.
The Staley School of Leadership Studies is proud to see students like Lucas apply knowledge from the classroom to the real world, and take action on the issues that matter to them.
Are you interested in learning more about Cats’ Cupboard and additional ways you can help alleviate food insecurity at Kansas State? Visit the Cats’ Cupboard website to learn about current needs, ways to get involved and upcoming events. Visit the Round Up website to learn more about how to give back. The next time you’re at the Union Kitchen, consider rounding up your purchase to help join the fight against food insecurity at Kansas State.