Beyond the football field and the basketball court, UT is lagging behind Texas A&M University in at least one regard this holiday season: food donations.
Throughout November, the UT and Texas A&M’s sports clubs competed to collect the most food donations for struggling students in their communities. The unofficial final count of food donations this year is about 45,000 ounces for UT and 114,000 ounces for A&M. Chad Zimmerman, UT sport clubs assistant director, said it is likely the final count will vary little from the unofficial count.
The UT food drive was hosted by the UT Sports Clubs Association Council, an advisory group for the sport clubs program.
“The food drive came along as a way to give back to the community while also being a part of this Aggie-Longhorn challenge,” the council’s president Domenica Sutherland said.
Sutherland, an exercise science and athletic care senior, said while she is thankful for the food drive she would prefer more students had donated.
“I do wish more students were aware of (the food drive),” Sutherland said. “It may just be that some people aren’t aware of it because they don’t need it. It’s better for us to get involved with things … to help classmates that we don’t know are struggling and need food.”
For the first time, all donated food will be given to the food pantry at UT Outpost, which first opened in May 2018. UT Outpost coordinator Will Ross said UT Outpost is dedicated to making sure students in the UT community are well taken care of beyond the holiday giving season.
“We have food drives going on throughout the year,” Ross said. “This is done on the mindset that the whole University cares, and they care year-round. It’s the campus holistically, including faculty and alumni helping. I’m not a Longhorn, but to be able to support Longhorns is awesome and huge.”
Christina Lewandowski, the fundraising officer for A&M’s Sports Clubs Executive Committee, said she is grateful that both universities will go to great lengths to support their students.
“We’re all just incredibly lucky to be able to give back and be in a position to help others,” said Lewandowski, a human resource development senior at A&M. “I know that 45,000 ounces of food is going to go so far for so many people, and that’s just such as blessing.”