STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: CHANTAL CHAN
Every month, we give one of our student leaders a spotlight to share their story and about the work on the ground.
This April, we meet Chantal Chan, a senior at UC San Diego and co-president of her chapter.
1. Most nerve wrecking moment as a leader– when, if ever, were you worried about an event or program or the team?
I was most nervous as a leader when Bryan and I first decided to expand the team last fall. We had so many visions for Swipes for the year. We knew we had to make sure we built a team that would be just as passionate as we are about fighting hunger. After meeting every week before October, Bryan and I finally released the application for Swipes along with a short presentation about what it is about. We were excited to have to so many applicants, and even got the chance to interview each of them. When we had our first meeting as a team, we were so nervous to lead it. At that point we knew we had qualities in all the members we had hoped to have, but we knew we wanted to make sure our meeting ran smoothly. We played a few ice breakers, ate some pizza, and talked through the logistics for the quarter. Fortunately, our hard work paid off - and we are so lucky to have found such an amazing team to lead Swipes into the future.
2. You guys had an epic 5k last year– how did you get 2,000 students to show up?
Walk the Block was actually a 3 mile walk around campus last year that supported the Triton Food Pantry on our campus. It was a student-led event, in which students organizations provided entertainment, students individually volunteered, and many supported by donating to Swipes. It really made me realize the impact our campus can make on food insecurity when students and faculty join together to fight such a major problem in San Diego and within UCSD. I believe the driving force for a lot of the students was the theme. The walk was basically a block party theme in which students who came got to dance at each party station along the way, and also learn about food insecurity facts while walking. Because we had many sponsors that helped support the event, we were able to have major food vendors come out and fun activities such as yoga, rock climbing, and giant hamster balls. The best part was that all the proceeds went to the Food Pantry, which meant students could have fun and support a great cause. We're really excited to have Walk the Block happen again this year as a 5K to support the Triton Food Pantry, but this time there will even be a headliner! Tickets will be on sale soon! It'll be May 14th, and it would be awesome if any of ya'll around the area wanted to come support!
3. After two years of donating off campus, your chapter recently shifted its focus to addressing on campus hunger as well. Why and how has it been going?
Our chapter switched to focusing on fighting hunger both on campus and off campus because we realized how prevalent the problem is even in the UCSD community. In a recent survey, one in four students at UCSD skip meals due to financial reasons. We thought this would be a great way to support our local community, and to actually see that the impacts of our efforts lie very close to home. Swipes donates 1/3 of our proceeds to the Triton Food Pantry at the end of every year and the rest to the San Diego Food Bank. Since the Triton Food Pantry opened last year, about 500 people come out to collect meals every week. We have a Triton Food Pantry rep position in Swipes now in order to continue strengthening our partnership with the Food Pantry on campus. It is our hope that this partnership will continue to grow and we hope to volunteer there next quarter!
4. If you were to compare your college experience to a TV show, what show would it be and why?
Hmm.. this one is tough. If I had to pick one show that my college experience most resembles, it would be Friends! I have had so many great adventures and met some of my closest friends in college. My sophomore year, my roommates and I spent all our time together and our closest guy friends lived down the hall. It was the best living situation I could imagine, and to this day we are still all so close. In fact, I'm writingthis from Canada right now, as we're traveling together before we graduate. College was full of many funny, dramatic, crazy moments that I would never trade for the world and I'm so thankful to have found my second home.