Dani Wade is looking
for big ideas to help grow the IUP Food Pantry project and, thanks to a
donation from a generous alumnus, she thinks she’s found what she’s looking
Wade, a senior
international business major from Penn Hills, recently attended the 2018 Net
Impact Conference in Phoenix. It’s an annual event that, according to its
website, “brings leaders together for a dynamic exchange of ideas about how to
tackle our toughest social and environmental problems.”
Terry Serafini, a 1961
IUP graduate who has taken a keen interest in the university’s Food Pantry
project, helped Wade attend this conference. This initiative has been started
to combat the problem of food insecurity on campus.
providing the funding for the trip means a lot to me,” Wade said.
“His generosity has allowed this project to move forward and will
help ensure that food insecurity will not affect an IUP student’s ability
to learn, flourish, and succeed with their college education. He has been a
huge support, and I am truly grateful for his contribution.”
Net Impact, based in
Oakland, California, describes itself as a “leadership accelerator for future
changemakers.” The theme for this year’s conference was “Outside the Lines,”
with students from across the country taking part in workshops, seminars and
networking opportunities during the three-day event.
“The conference was
composed of many influential keynote speakers who talked about their
businesses and how they were positively impacting the world,” Wade said. “There
were also breakout sessions that held panels where I was able to speak with
some of the speakers, such as Paul Dillinger, the vice president of global
innovation at Levi’s, and Adam Foss, the founder and president of Prosecutor Impact, as well as many others.”
Wade said she was
interested in attending the event because of her involvement in the IUP Food
Pantry project through Each One Reach One (EORO), which is part of the Fredrick
Douglass Institute at IUP.
“I believed that I
could learn helpful strategies that would help get the campus food pantry
started,” she said. “I believed that working with the Net Impact Food
Fellowship would provide me the opportunity to help the students dealing with
food insecurities on campus.”
Wade said one of the
keynote speakers left a big impression on her. Stephen Ritz, the founder of the
Green Bronx Machine, outlined his group’s mission, which is to improve the
lives of its residents in its area of New York City through education, local
food systems, and work-force development.
“Nobody will go
broke giving love or goodwill, so give it often and give it daily and feel good
about it,” Ritz said during his presentation. “Refuse to accept the things you
cannot change and change the things you can't accept.”
Wade said Ritz’s
speech moved her to expand her goals for the IUP food pantry.
“It not only
energized me,” she said, “but it also inspired me to look at the
bigger picture of what establishing a food pantry could mean for IUP.”
EORO is overseeing
the food pantry project, and one appeal for funds is coming from the Student
Philanthropy Council’s student giving project, Help A Hawk. These efforts will
help make sure it’s a sustainable tool for students who might have to make
difficult choices with their money that could leave them without enough food.
announced that he is allocating $25,000 of his $50,000 annual donation for the
food pantry. In conjunction with the student giving project, this will triple
the impact of every gift of five dollars or more made by any IUP student, up to
$25,000. Wade is featured in an upcoming video to kick off the November 27
Giving Tuesday challenge, when IUP hopes to raise $10,000 in one day.
Wade hopes the food
pantry is up and running soon, and thanks to her recent attendance at the Net
Impact Conference, she said she feels energized to help her community, her
country, and her world.
“I feel like this trip
has made me more aware of social and environmental issues that
are happening globally,” she said. “Being surrounded by so many
individuals who are passionate about impacting the world has inspired me to do
whatever I can to tackle the globe's social issues.”