Elon students learn about food sustainability, security through Campus Kitchen service opportunities

Campus Kitchen is an on-campus service opportunity through the Kernodle Center for Civic Life that involves preparing meals for local residents in need through Allied Churches of Alamance County. The program is made possible through long-standing partnerships with Elon Dining and the Center for Environmental Studies.

Elon University’s Campus Kitchen highlights the importance of strengthening bodies, empowering minds and building communities through every step of the service-learning experience. From gardening to food resourcing, cooking to delivering, the Campus Kitchen offers various opportunities for students to collaborate and help their community.

Food is resourced through generous support from Elon Dining, which involves weekly food donations and the use of the Lakeside Dining Hall kitchen. Through a collaboration with the Center for Environmental Studies, students also harvest produce from Elon’s Loy Farm to use in meal preparation.

This entire process is all done with the help and collaboration of Elon’s faculty and student volunteers. Every step of the way, faculty and students are finding ways to improve food sustainability, as well as combat food insecurity.

With access to a kitchen and its proper tools, volunteers from all levels of experience work together to create nutritious meals for the community. Since Campus Kitchen has a partnership with the Allied Churches of Alamance, students can also volunteer their time by delivering the prepared foods to the shelter. This service-learning opportunity provides student volunteers with access to kitchens, delivery transportation and other resources that are needed to complete the shifts.

Not only does Campus Kitchen allow students to become more involved in their community, but it’s also a collaborative experience that encourages students to work together for the betterment of their community.

“With Campus Kitchen, we can clearly see the impact we are making. Whether it is our sustainability efforts or partnering with the churches, we are making a difference every step of the way,” said Leila Jackson ’22, director of Campus Kitchen and active participant in the program for nearly two years.

Students of all interests participate in Campus Kitchen because of the various opportunities it offers. Madison Johnson ‘24 is not only a passionate student participant of Campus Kitchen, but she works as the farm shift coordinator at Loy Farms as well.

“We had the creator and supervisor of Allied Churches come and speak at an all Elon Volunteers! forum and it was so inspiring to hear him speak. It really gave meaning to what we do and just helped ignite that passion we all have to help others,” Johnson said.

Not only is Campus Kitchen a fun and collaborative opportunity that benefits the community, but it also serves as an opportunity for students to receive their service Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) credit. In order to graduate, Elon students must complete two ELR credits, and one of those credits may be completed through a service-learning experience. The university encourages students to either take academic service-learning courses or participate in a service-learning experience, approved by the Kernodle Center.

Campus Kitchen is indeed a service-learning experience that is pre-approved by the Kernodle Center, so students can receive an ELR credit if they participate for a minimum of 40 hours over 15 days. If you are interested in receiving an ELR credit through Campus Kitchen or any other pre-approved service-learning experience, you must contact a Kernodle Center staff member for assistance. From there, a staff member will provide you with more details, including an orientation.

If you are interested in learning more about the service ELR, click here. If you are interested in becoming a leader with Campus Kitchen, keep an eye on announcements after spring break when Elon Volunteers! begins its leadership recruitment. You can also come by the Kernodle Center office which is located in Moseley 232 or call 336-278-7250 for more information.