Students "Close the Caf" for local charity

Release Date: 11/27/2012

On Sunday, Nov. 24, more than 200 U of O students donated their evening meal in the Borck Dining hall as part of the "Close the Caf" campaign to benefit the Junior Auxiliary of Johnson County, a local charitable organization.

Inspired by Oxfam, an international relief organization, Morgan O'Neil, a senior environmental studies/political science major, organized the event with the help of the Student Life Office and the university's food service provider, Aramark.

"This is the third time we've hosted the 'Close the Caf' campaign," O'Neil said. "The way that it works is students have the option of donating a meal they would have eaten in the cafeteria. If we have enough students donate meals, Aramark closes the cafeteria for one meal and donates the money they would have spent on food service to a charity."

As it turned out, Ozarks' students were happy to come together and sacrifice one meal in the cafeteria in hopes of bettering the community.

"We had a little over 220 students donate a meal, so we were able to close the cafeteria for the evening meal on Sunday, November 24. Aramark will donate the money saved during that meal, and the Student Life Office provided dinner for the students in the residence halls," O'Neil said.

The funds will be donated to the Junior Auxiliary of Johnson County, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

"We decided to donate the money to the Junior Auxiliary because we wanted to focus our efforts on something local," O'Neil said. "In the past we've donated the funds to national and international organizations. This year, in honor of Oxfam's 'Think Local, Act Global' campaign, we decided to donate to a local organization."

The response from students was great, and Aramark is expected to donate around a $1,000 to the Junior Auxiliary.

"Many of the students were happy to be able to help by donating meals that have already been paid for by their cafeteria meal plans," O'Neil said. "It's money that doesn't necessarily come right out of their pocket, so it's easier for college students to manage. It may only be $6 or $7 dollars per person, but when it all comes together it can make a big difference for a small, non-profit, like the Junior Auxiliary."

O'Neil has high hopes for the future campaigns.

"I think this is a tradition we could continue every semester. It's so simple. Just collect a few signatures, and then you can really give back to the community," she said.