During her four years at Ohio Wesleyan University, Chloe Dyer has helped to ensure that more than 3,000 pounds of unused food, set for disposal, has been diverted to help feed and nourish the local community.
Now a graduating senior, Dyer of Guysville, Ohio, is being honored with a 2018 Charles J. Ping Student Service Award and $250 Legacy Award mini-grant to benefit the charity of her choice.
The awards are presented annually by the Ohio Campus Compact “to recognize and honor undergraduate students for their outstanding leadership and contributions to community service or service-learning on their campus and within their community.” According to the nonprofit organization, its award-recipients “represent the next generation of civic leaders and problem-solvers.”
Dyer said she is honored to have helped the Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware communities create a new pathway to help address issues of food insecurity. She will donate the grant funds to Grace Clinic Delaware, which provides uninsured and underinsured residents with free medical appointments, prescription assistance, and specialist appointments.
“I was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills of rural Athens County, the poorest county in the state of Ohio,” said Dyer, a double-major in Spanish and pre-law studies and a minor in politics and government. “While my own family was financially stable, I grew up knowing that many of my friends and neighbors struggled with economic insecurity.
“During my first semester of college, I learned about the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a national organization with chapters at colleges across the United States,” Dyer said. “Its mission is to divert leftover food from dining halls to community nonprofits, reducing food waste and combating food insecurity. Knowing there were hungry people in my community, I was determined to start a chapter at Ohio Wesleyan.
“At the end of my freshman year, Ohio Wesleyan’s chapter became official,” she said. “Since then, we have conducted weekly food recoveries and donated more than 3,000 pounds of food to Grace Clinic, the free health center which serves as our community partner. FRN has taught me the importance of recognizing opportunities for connection within the volunteer experience.
“I started the Food Recovery Network to address a community need,” Dyer said, “but in taking the initiative to start a chapter, I also gained confidence. I now know that I can make a difference in another person’s life. Most importantly, as I graduate from Ohio Wesleyan, I leave with the conviction that I have the ability to effect meaningful change in my community.”
Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., who nominated Dyer for the Ping Award, said he has no doubt she will continue to be an empathetic, solutions-oriented leader.
“Chloe arrived at Ohio Wesleyan with an awareness of poverty and the desire to address social inequality, and we watched as her passions took root,” Jones said. “As a result of her efforts, hundreds of Delaware residents have consistently received food through the campus-community partnership that she forged. Chloe exemplifies the values of engaged citizenship and service that are part of Ohio Wesleyan’s DNA.”
During her time at Ohio Wesleyan, Dyer also participated in all aspects of The OWU Connection, the university’s signature program to help students think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), and get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience).
As an OWU student, Dyer traveled to Mexico, Spain, and Ireland to study immigration, prejudice, and reconciliation. She also completed research and service on the U.S.-Mexico border and interned for both the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program and Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office. After she graduates in May, Dyer expects to spend a year working with a service organization and then enroll in law school to become a human rights attorney.
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan and The OWU Connection at www.owu.edu/owuconnection.
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