Have a quick conversation with Macy Burke and Abby Lagerquist and you’ll never think about the food on your plate – or chasing a dream – the same way again.
The duo of fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus are re-thinking food waste in the Okanagan. Their project – FruitSnaps – coordinated with a team of fellow students has already fed more than 400 kids in Vernon, with the potential to feed thousands more, locally and internationally, if things go to plan.
“I thought back to growing up in a small-town, Cherryville, and seeing kids in my classes in elementary school tapping into meal programs. I was inspired to think about how I could do more, make an impact in my community, and put some of my business skills into practice,” says Lagerquist.
The project offered the team a chance to put their passion for building community collaborations to work.
“Working with local organizations who share the same goals, and being able to potentially support them in realizing some of those goals together, that’s been incredible,” says Burke, who is also currently Co-President of Enactus OC, the student-led organization advancing socially-conscious business projects that benefit local non-profits, individuals and small businesses.
“I’ve learned so much. I’ve come away inspired and encouraged to keep working to make our community an even better place.”
Both are shining examples of the kind of community-focused future business leaders the College is working to inspire, notes Andrew Klingel, a professor with the School of Business and one of their Enactus coaches.
“Abby and Macy are great examples of the calibre and quality of students graduating from OC,” says Klingel. “They are making the world a better place while at the same time gaining experience and refining their skills in the real world. I can’t wait to see where their careers go from here.”
And while Burke and Lagerquist are thinking about what the future holds for them after graduation this summer, they haven’t lost sight of how they can make a difference in their final months as students. (The project recently took top prize in its category at an Enactus Regional Competition in Calgary and the team will be off to Nationals in Vancouver in May to present on its impact over the past year.)
“Right now, we’re just focused on growing the project and the impact it can have, and first and foremost that means we need even more fruit,” says Lagerquist.
“Whether you’re an orchardist or just a family with a tree or two in your backyard, if you have fruit going to waste, let us know, and we’ll find a way to make sure it ends up feeding kids and others in need.”