Zenith Shrestha photo
Dexter Tanner, (left) a then-sophomore business major from Hoover, and Clay Copeland, (right) a then-senior marketing major from Selma, particpating in Campus Kitchen’s can castle contest in Spring 2018.
Seth “Leebo” Tyler, a recently graduated social science major from Mobile, was nominated last year for the inaugural Trojan Heart Award for his contribution to the establishment of Campus Kitchen at Troy.
According to its website, Campus Kitchens is an organization that “captures and reclaims unused, excess food from the campus dining hall and directs meals to those in need in our local community.”
While Tyler was a civic scholar in 2013, he decided to start a food rescue program to redistribute the food left at the cafeteria. After that he and his friends decided to visit the Campus Kitchens at Auburn University which was the only branch of the organization in the state.
Tyler and Jonathan Cellon, the associate dean of first year studies and the previous coordinator for civic engagement, went to a national Campus Kitchen boot camp in Washington D.C. where they spent a week learning about food storage and redistribution.
When they returned, Tyler and his friends set up all the necessary measures, identified where the meals would be needed and coordinated with Sodexo to get started.
“One of the challenges that we faced was to convince Sodexo that we would be able to successfully redistribute the food that could not be used at dining,” Tyler said. “After that we started the program; everything fell into place.”
Cellon said Tyler has been influentially serving for some time.
“(He) was already very active with the Boys and Girls Club locally, and he was integral in getting the campus kitchen program off the ground,” Cellon said. “He has a leadership mindset around serving others and helping to improve lives of others.”
Tyler was offered a year-long fellowship at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and works as a local engagement fellow.
“I am really proud to have made my mark with Campus Kitchen,” Tyler said. “I am even happier to see the program going so well in the hands of people who are as passionate about this initiative as I am.”
When asked about how he felt after receiving the nomination last year, Tyler said it encouraged him.
“It felt great because it meant the work we do is grabbing positive attention, which normally turns into changes for the better.”