Dozens of Weber State University students gathered in the Shepherd Union Atrium Wednesday afternoon to show off their creative ability for a cause.
The first WeberCAN food drive was planned by WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) and included four teams. Each team competed against each other to create a unique structure using donated canned food items.
Engaged Learning Series assistant coordinator and event coordinator Livvy Gerrish explained that each team gathered their own donations by conducting an individual food drive prior to the event. In total, Gerrish estimated there to be at least 2,000 cans donated between all of the teams.
Gerrish explained why CCEL put on this event to collect food donations rather than holding a traditional food drive.
“There’s always a group food drive going on, and I think this adds a really unique twist on it,” said Gerrish. “Because it is different, it may encourage more students to become involved, which I think it has.”
Gerrish also explained that unlike a collection bin-type food drive, this event drives students to work together, from the collection of the food to the building of the structure.
According to Gerrish, all of the structures will be taken down after the event ends and the majority of the cans will be used to fill the Weber Cares food pantry. The remainder of the cans will be given to Catholic Community Services in Ogden.
One of the teams that competed in the event was the Wildcat Falcons, formally known as the Weber State University Student Association service team.
“We are staying very traditional in our design and showing our purple pride by building the WSU bell tower,” said Wildcat Falcon’s team member and WSUSA’s Vice President of Service Tessa Diamond. “That is our plan, and it is going to be amazing and beautiful and fabulous.”
While the teams were given creative freedom to build their structure, they still had to follow a list of guidelines.
According to a rules sheet given to the teams, the finished structure must fit within an eight-foot-by-five-foot space, and must be structurally self-supporting. Additionally, the teams were only permitted to use nine other components during construction, including nylon string, plywood, cardboard, clear tape and other regulated supplies.
The teams had between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to build their structures, after which the judging took place. According to Gerrish, the team awarded best in show would be given first place, while the other teams would be awarded honorable mentions including best meal, most cans used and least cans used.
The event had five judges, all of whom are WSU alumni and members of the Emeriti Alumni Council.
“It was a great group effort and a very worthwhile cause,” said Geraldine Christensen, Emeriti Alumni president and event judge. “Next year we expect twice as many entries or more.”
The Wildcat Falcons ended up placing first in the event and received a prize package for Fat Cats in Ogden, including a bowling party for 10 guests and 15 percent off all food orders.
“Only good things are coming from us,” Diamond bragged, even before her team was announced the winner of the event. “The Wildcat Falcons are only flying higher.”