A University of Nebraska at Kearney student has been named national student volunteer of the year for the Campus Kitchen Project.
Cody Waldman of Hickman was presented the Leah Prudhomme Award from the Campus Kitchens Project in ceremonies at the National Campus Kitchens Conference in Mankato, Minn.
Campus Kitchens Project is part of a national student development and hunger relief organization. The project is a student-directed and student-driven initiative in which students recover un-served food from dining services, use dining services cafeterias to prepare meals, and deliver those meals to low-income youth, seniors, families and community-based agencies. The mission of the Campus Kitchens Project is to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. There are only 12 Campus Kitchens established across the nation; UNK is host to the only Campus Kitchens Project in Nebraska.
Waldman said, “It is a great honor to be recognized as the face of Campus Kitchen. I met so many people at the conference who have done so many great things with their own Campus Kitchen organizations. It was incredibly humbling to meet them and hear of the programs they have started, and the things they have accomplished. It is a great feeling to be recognized for my work, but I know more work remains to be done.
“It is an honor to be the first recipient of this award from UNK. However, while I am honored, I also realize that I did not accomplish anything by myself. No one person could make this organization run all by themselves. It really takes a team effort. With that in mind, I know that there are many other leadership team members from UNK who deserved this award as well,” he said. Waldman is also only the fifth person to receive the award. Nominees must excel in service, leadership and professional development.
Waldman noted: “Working with Campus Kitchens has made me more aware of the needs that exist in the Kearney community. In a rural setting, such as Kearney, social problems are less apparent. By getting into the community and interacting with the clients, I have had the opportunity to learn about the social problems as well as to help the clients overcome them.”
Megan Boss, UNK Campus Kitchen Project coordinator, nominated Waldman for the award. Boss said, “Cody is my right-hand man. I trust him to remain dedicated to this program and hope that he decides to become a coordinator of the program after I leave this year…Cody is a dream volunteer, willing to do anything you ask, always looking to improve the services we are providing to our clients and our community, and engaging volunteers like no one I have seen before.”
The Leah Prudhomme Award was named in honor of the first recipient of the Student Volunteer of the Year Award. Prudhomme was a volunteer at Dillard University in New Orleans where she developed and implemented a full nutrition education curriculum for the kids of New Orleans.