By Michelle Lampariello
Nation & World Editor
Students gave new meaning to the phrase “food for thought” at Student United Way’s fourth annual PB&J race.
Twelve teams of students competed to see who could make the most peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to be donated to Trenton Area Soup Kitchen on Thursday, April 13, in the Education Building.
The PB&J race fits Student United Way’s values of giving, volunteering and advocating.
“Donating and giving is a big portion of our motto as a club, and this really could help our local communities,” said Donte Ingram, the president of Student United Way and a senior management major.
Busy schedules often prevent students from having time to volunteer, but the PB&J race allowed students to take a few hours to give back to the community.
“As college kids, we are all super busy. We all have crazy schedules. I think it’s really important (to volunteer) when you have spare time, instead of going home to take a nap or watch TV,” said Francesca Canzoneri, the publicity chair for Student United Way and a junior communication studies major.
While WTSR’s music played in the background, students fiercely competed in five rounds of races, each with their own twist. In the first round, only some tables were given the resources needed to make the sandwiches, such as peanut butter, jelly and utensils.
“How did it feel to have all of the resources for some teams?” Ingram asked the crowd. “How did it feel to have none of the resources?”
The resource challenge was representative of the real world. Some teams had more supplies than others, and everyone had to work together and compound their resources to ensure that each team had an equal amount of peanut butter, jelly and bread.
“It’s nice that people are willing to give back to the community because there are so many problems and (so much) injustice,” Canzoneri said. “People need help. I think the best thing you can do is to give back in any way that you can.”
Student United Way hopes to raise awareness that students can help Trenton, N.J., residents in need.
“In our little bubble at TCNJ, we forget that not everyone has everything that they need,” said Holly Liebau, the secretary of Student United Way and a junior math and secondary education dual major. “Here we all are getting an education and meal plans, and it’s crazy expensive. No one realizes that people a town over could have nothing.”
Organizations like Student United Way take advantage of the College’s proximity to Trenton in order to help people who may be struggling.
“We’re right next to a community that needs help, and we have the time and resources to do so,” Ingram said.
Theta Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Lamda, Circle K, Women in Business, Alpha Kappa Psi, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Sigma Lamda Gamma, Alpha Xi Delta, Phi Alpha Delta and Sigma Sigma Sigma and two teams from Delta Sigma Pi competed at the event.
The race “brings together a sense of TCNJ community, part of something more than just yourself,” said Brooke Buchan, a sophomore political science major who competed for Sigma Sigma Sigma.
Student United Way proved that even a simple elementary school staple can make a difference to those in need.