4 Things To Know About Leading An Anti-Hunger Movement
This blog is written by:
Aditi Kulkarni (she/her/hers): Aditi is the co-founder of the Spartan Food Security Council at Michigan State University (MSU), a student-run organization focused on feeding MSU’s community and ending localized food insecurity. She graduated from MSU in December 2023 with a BA in Comparative Cultures and Politics.
Anton Akroush: Anton is a member of the Spartan Food Security Council and a freshman at Michigan State University, where he is pursuing a major in Electrical Engineering. Anton has also worked with and helped lead organizations dedicated to advancing civic education (Bill of Rights Institute), racial equality (Racing Ahead, MSU MOSAIC), voter turnout (Turnout Nation), and language learning (US Department of State). A state champion debater, quiz bowler, and writer, Anton has displayed an avowed interest in the issues that really matter.
When the Spartan Food Security Council (SFSC) was founded at Michigan State University in October 2021, there was little idea of the impact that we would later create statewide. We had humble beginnings: just a couple of friends and a goal to feed our community. Since partnering with Swipe Out Hunger in 2022, we have started a grassroots Anti-Hunger Movement in Michigan and successfully introduced the Hunger Free Campus Bill in the state legislature. After a year of hard work, here’s what we have learned so far:
1. Partnerships Are Key To Capacity Growth
We knew that to create a grassroots movement in Michigan, we had to partner with different stakeholders. Although SFSC and Swipe spearheaded early work, we didn’t have the capacity to go further without partnerships. These partnerships benefited the mission in more ways than one. For example, we have connected with seven other higher education institutions, including Bay College, Grand Rapids Community College, and Northern Michigan University, who brought nuanced perspectives on statewide food insecurity. These partnerships were key to expanding the mission’s capacity and getting the Bill introduced!
2. Momentum Is Important: Embrace It!
As the movement grew, we found ourselves working on more projects and connecting with more stakeholders than ever before. While this can be intimidating, it meant we were gathering momentum! We were encouraged by the attention and knew we were headed in the right direction. Embracing momentum gave us the motivation and courage to continue our work in Michigan.
3. Expect To Get Your Hands Dirty Right Away
We’re not just volunteering for hours. The goal of zero food insecurity means everyone who wants to help, will help. As a new member, expect to jump in right away whether it’s operations, spreading the word, or running events. It’s a ton of fun! As a leader, expect to delegate these responsibilities and get your hands dirty yourself.
4. Involve Everyone
Regardless of age, background, or expertise, every member has a role to play in the mission to end student hunger. Involve everyone. When it comes to advocacy, a united force can be significantly influential. SFSC saw how important this was when it came to passing Hunger Free Campus in the state legislature. Unity sends a strong message to lawmakers.