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Nourish International

Student Spotlight: International Project Directors

December 14, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight | By

This week, NINO would like to recognize three of our fantastic International Project Directors: Merek Kesser from the UC Davis Chapter, Jenna Greve from the University of Miami Chapter, and Elizabeth Sherril from the University of Tennessee Chapter.

Merek Kesser  

What makes you passionate about Nourish? Developing sustainable projects in conjunction with a community abroad makes me very excited and passionate about Nourish.  I think that Nourish has a great and important cause and  I really enjoy the student and community aspect and involvement with Nourish.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish? One of my favorite memories is the fist Strides For Change 5K race that the UCD chapter put on in Spring 2010. We had a great turnout and a lot of fun as a chapter at the event.

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career? I am interested in a career path related to sustainable development and I think that Nourish really embodies the ideals of sustainable development. Therefore I think it is a great stepping stone and source of experience for my career interests in the future.

Jenna Greve

What makes you passionate about Nourish?  I am passionate about helping and interacting with people. I love that I can take so much from these experiences and still be giving at the same time. I am dedicated to trying my best to influence everyone I meet in a positive way and gain a positive influence from them. I love the balance of interactive relationships which you see so much of in Nourish.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?  I think my favorite experience in Nourish was when I was actually in El Salvador to implement our project last year. It was really great seeing all the hard work come together. The experience and awareness of living with a group of people that were so different and yet fundamentally similar to myself was one of the most eye opening experiences I have had.

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?  I am pursuing a career in medicine. Nourish has and still is developing leadership skills and cultural experiences that diversify my understanding of the world. This will help me understand a wide range of patients views which will lead to better patient care. I also plan on working abroad and my experience working with foreign organizations is invaluable to my future work in sustainable health care abroad. Nourish has helped me develop into a more well rounded individual which is essential to any career path that will be highly interactive like a career in medicine is.

Elizabeth Sherril

What passions drive you and your work with Nourish International?  Basic health is a fundamental key to a happy, successful life. I am passionate about eliminating disparities and assisting others in reaching this attainable level of health through service done in a sustainable, responsible way. Nourish International allows me the opportunity to practice this passion and be a part of a global service movement with a lasting, empowering impact.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?  At the start of this school year, current members of the UTK chapter gathered together at a local, environmentally-conscious restaurant to discuss the past summer’s project and our plans for the coming year. As founding members of our young chapter, we had worked together for the past year to understand and carry out Nourish’s mission. As group members around the table recounted stories of their summer working in Uganda and their experience at the summer institute, the excitement in the air was almost tangible. The progress we had made was inspiring us to have an even greater impact in the year to come. We were all grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a positive mission.

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?  My undergraduate major is nutrition with the intent to pursue medicine and public health. I wish to become a physician with skills not only for treating individual patients but also for being involved in the development and application of health solutions for the population as a whole. Nourish has helped prepare me for this by bringing my humanitarian awareness to a greater level and giving me the opportunity to lead through service and cooperation.

Projects: Fruit Tree Cultivation in Cameroon

October 27, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight, Summer Projects | By

This summer, The University of Texas Chapter went to Cameroon to help the widows of Njinikom cultivate plantain trees so they may earn a sustainable income and increase their self-sufficiency.  Below is a video of Emily Salada, a project team member and the Chapter Secretary, speaking about her experience with the project.

For more student project stories and Nourish videos, visit our YouTube Channel!

Student Spotlight: Duke University

October 20, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight | By

This week, NINO would like to recognize two of our great student leaders, the Chapter Leaders of Duke University: Pulkit Taunk and Puneet Raman .

Pulkit Taunk

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?
I really like everything that Nourish International stands for. Nourish International approaches important issues through an innovative lens by harnessing student spirit and really engaging communities. A few things that really get me excited about Nourish: it’s student run; the projects bring about sustainable change, the ventures give room for student creativity and innovation and it’s a model that actually works!
What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?
My favorite memory would definitely be from the Summer Institute – just meeting so many people who are passionate about the same issues that I’m passionate about. It gave me a sense of direction, a feeling of empowerment, and a community to keep in touch with.
What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?
I am pre-med. A lot of major problems such as heart attacks can be prevented through simple, sustainable lifestyle choices. As a doctor, I want to practice preventative medicine and give my patients ownership of their own health. A lot of what Nourish does is build accountability for a project, and as students we want to instill this sense of ownership in the community so that the community will really invest in this project.

Puneet Raman

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?
 I’ve always been interested in positively impacting the lives of people around me.  But I never liked the idea that all of the money I donate to organizations goes into some big untraceable pool.  Nourish gives me a way to use my creativity and passion to finance a specific project abroad, where I’m able to be involved in everything (from earning the money, to literally conducting the project abroad).  Nourish is a very unique organization that allows me to express my desire to help others in a meaningful way.
What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?
My favorite memory has probably been the successful Hunger Lunches we had last fall.  It was nice to have a lot of people from the organization at one of our events, and the first few lunches were both social activities and fundraisers.
What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?
I’m most likely going into medicine after teaching for two years. Nourish emphasizes the principles that I want to live the rest of my life with.

Spotlight on Nourish Student: Anna Marie Carr

March 30, 2011 | Posted in Student Spotlight | By

This week NINO is featuring Anna Marie Carr, a student leader at Wake Forest University. Anna Marie is a French major with a minor in African Studies. Read on to find out how she’s making a difference for her Nourish Chapter!

Why are you interested in Nourish?
I’ve done a good deal of nonprofit and volunteer work here at Wake, but I’ve never seen an organization so professionally run with a model that is both impressive and attainable. I love the Nourish International concept because of the realistic and inspiring approach it takes toward student involvement. Having a completely student-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a college campus legitimizes the idea of a campus philanthropy movement, and the opportunities for specialized positions and roles for each student is a great model to get the most people involved in the most productive and exciting way. This organization is more than a “charity”- it is passionate, driven students working together for REAL CHANGE, and what we do with Nourish truly makes a difference.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?
I would say that one of the most memorable WFU Nourish moments in our first semester was our very first Executive meeting, where we had all of our officers present. Seeing this group of passionate, talented, and proactive students step up to the plate to start the Wake Forest chapter was both exciting and energizing. We spent the meeting going over the basic ins and outs of N.I., bouncing ideas off one another, enjoying getting to know one another, and realizing that this Nourish International concept really could happen here at Wake. We’ve had a great time working together so far, and I’m excited to see the group grow and flourish under such a dynamite leadership team.

What are your career possibilities, and how does Nourish prepare you?
I’m interested in pursuing a career in the Nonprofit sector, so working with Nourish International is an amazing opportunity to really observe the inner workings of a small nonprofit organization first-hand. Being part of the executive board from the start of our chapter here at Wake has really allowed me to learn more about Nonprofit structure and management, as well as how to take a great nonprofit model and put it into action in a specific situation. Working as the campus outreach director allows me to utilize the connections that I’ve already established in the volunteer/nonprofit arena of WFU to maximize our impact and success, and I hope that I can take this experience with me into the professional nonprofit world!

Nourish Chapter Founders Spreading the Movement

March 29, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Founders, Student Spotlight | By

Nourish wouldn’t be able to expand and reach out to students on university campuses across the US without the help of its Chapter Founders team. They work hard to broadcast news about Nourish’s model and find schools that have the perfect combination of motivated students and resources that align to form a successful Chapter.

Tara Seshan is on the Chapter Founders team, but she’s no newcomer when it comes to Nourish. As a Freshman, she was a Freshman Executive Officer (FEO) at the UNC Chapter and loved it, saying that the “infectious spirit of innovation and push for student-led change” really moved her. She then became the Ventures Director at UNC and was in awe “of the deep and complex thinking that Nourish encouraged of its students.” Tara then moved from the UNC Chapter to the National Office, working as the Special Projects Intern and heading the “Give the Gift of Nourish” card campaign. This semester, she is on the Chapter Founders team, doing more marketing-focused work and utilizing graphic design and multimedia to reach out to potential chapters.

“Nourish was built by students for students, and we realize that social media is the perfect way to spread the movement from the ground up. We use Facebook, Twitter, Blog Posts, Videos, and other outlets to directly communicate with students who share our passion and give momentum to Nourish International.”

Tara loves being on the Chapter Founders team because she believes that in order for Nourish to have the greatest impact, there need to be Chapters on university campuses everywhere. “We have the potential to make a huge difference in the world, and the more students we have working together, the better.” It’s clear that Tara is passionate about Nourish. Her favorite part of her current role is talking to prospective Chapter Founders, communicating how much she loves Nourish and seeing that same spark in them. “The more innovative and interested Nourish students are, the more success we will see at the Chapter level!”

The Chapter Founders team seeks out quality students who are passionate about the mission of Nourish and who can be true leaders, bringing students together to be a part of the youth movement. Tara believes that there are many schools who could benefit from having a Nourish Chapter and is excited when she comes across schools who are not yet a part of the Nourish network, as it’s a great opportunity to harnass the passion of those students and create sustainable impact.

Check out the Chapter Founders video that Tara created, and click here to find out more and apply to start a Nourish Chapter.

Spotlight on Nourish Students: Miami University of Ohio

March 2, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight | By

This week, take a minute to learn about two awesome Nourish Students at Miami University. Sally Alkalaf is a senior and serves as International Projects Chair, and junior Jackelyn Klatte serves as Ventures Co-Director.

Sally Alkalaf

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?
I’ve always been interested in global health and development. Nourish is a great way to put my skills and time as an undergraduate student towards helping an underdeveloped community abroad.
What is one of your favorite memories of working with your Nourish Chapter?
Early fall semester of the first year of NI at Miami, we held a venture where we sold grilled cheese as a late night snack. Unfortunately, this venture was held outside and it was pouring rain! By the time we managed to make the sandwiches, they were soaking wet or cold. So, to say the least, this venture was far from successful. However, I had a great time running around in the rain with the members of our chapter. It really helped us to get to know one another!
What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?
I plan to attend dental school next fall in order to pursue a career in dentistry in the future. Being a part of Nourish has definitely taught me how to communicate and work well with others. I’ve also learned how to develop community projects while managing a budget. Nourish has also helped me to become a strong leader. All of these skills will be helpful in completing dental school and opening a practice one day.
Jackelyn Klatte

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?
The knowledge that I can play a direct role in positively impacting impoverished communities.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with your Nourish Chapter?
My favorite memory is when our chapter successfully raised thousands of dollars to finance the eco-weaving project of Guatamalan women after our first year as a chapter. Our members utilized our unique talents and knowledge to raise the funds and implement the project.

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?
I hope to attend law school in two years and pursue a career in law. I think that anyone in law, a field founded on principles such as ethics and justice, should remain aware of the life situations of those who have been unjustly disadvantaged by external circumstances.

Spotlight on Nourish Students: Yale University

February 16, 2011 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight | By

During last week’s Chapter Visits, NINO had the chance to meet and spend time with great Nourish students along the East Coast. Here we highlight Rachel and Dakota from Yale University. Read on to find out what excites them about their work with Nourish!

Rachel Looff is a sophomore History of Science and History of Medicine major at Yale University. She is serving Yale’s Nourish Chapter this year as Community Outreach Director.

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?

I started working with Nourish International through the ventures side of the organization, but what really drew me to get more involved was the opportunity to plan trips that I knew would directly benefit the communities we visited. I love being involved in the planning process from start to finish.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with your Nourish Chapter?

One of my favorite Nourish memories was the pumpkin smashing fundraiser we organized this fall. Trying to load 100 pumpkins into the back of an SUV was quite an experience!

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?

I’m interested in pursuing a join MD/MPH and working in global health development. I think Nourish will definitely give me relevant experience- particularly in public health. The trip we are planning to work on a medical clinic in Peru this summer is very similar to projects I envision pursuing in the future.

Dakota Meyers is Nourish Yale’s Ventures Director. He is a sophomore Economics major.

What passion drives you and your work with Nourish International?

I am driven to work with Nourish both because of the co-operative structure of its projects and the sustainable business-based nature of its ventures. As an economics major, I am particularly fascinated by the concept of profit being used as a tool to reduce economic disparity.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with your Nourish Chapter?

My favorite memory of working with my Nourish Chapter is of running our Pumpkin Smashing venture. The venture’s unexpected success made the venture both fun and fulfilling.

What career path are you interested in? How do you think Nourish will prepare you for that possible career?

I am interested in pursuing a career in either finance or entrepreneurship. Nourish’s ventures provide skill-building exercises for both of these career areas, in addition to providing moral fulfillment.

Spotlight On: Nourish Student Chandler Dunklin

January 26, 2011 | Posted in Student Spotlight | By

During a week of whirlwind Chapter visits, NINO staff had the opportunity to meet some incredible Nourish students. One of those students was Chandler Dunklin, a first-year student at Wake Forest University who has already plugged into the Wake Forest Nourish Chapter in a meaningful way. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with Nourish thus far!

Why are you interested in Nourish?
A few weeks after school started last fall I was looking for a campus organization to get involved with. There were a lot of options, but as soon as I saw a poster advertising Nourish I knew it was the best choice for me. Nourish combines my interest in business and love of traveling and puts them to use for a great cause.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with Nourish?
In the Fall we did a “Dorm Storm” to sell Krispy Kreme doughnuts for one of our ventures. We went to all the freshman dorms and pre-sold boxes of doughnuts to be delivered fresh at a later date. Not only was this a great business experience, it was also an awesome bonding experience for our new Nourish team who grew closer after the experience.

What are your career interests, and how does Nourish prepare you?
When I graduate, I am interested in pursuing a career in international finance. My time with Nourish has helped hone my business sense and given me leadership experiences that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. In my first semester with Nourish I have not only been exposed to international problems but I have been challenged to fix them.

Student Perspective on Nourish’s Mission and Vision

December 17, 2010 | Posted in Student Spotlight | By

Student Perspective on Nourish’s Mission and Vision

Prepared by Ryan Richards, Executive Director

December, 2010

I         PURPOSE

Even more so than the board of directors and staff, Nourish International’s student leaders are the stewards and executors of the Nourish movement.  As the Board of Directors and Staff assemble to discuss Nourish’s strategic vision, we want (and need) their voices present at the table, and this document seeks to achieve that purpose.


I designed four questions designed to harvest students’ perspectives on who we are, where we are going, and how we measure success.  Our Chapter Coordinator circulated the survey and 35 students responded.


Question One

In your own words, can you describe what Nourish International is all about? This could include our mission (don’t just copy from the webpage!), or the secret ingredient to our special sauce.

  • Students discussed the key components of Nourish’s model – the ventures and projects, students and partners – and highlight themes that cut across these components.

o   For example, students used the theme of sustainability to refer to both the way that Nourish International students acquire their funds (via ventures as opposed to fundraising), and to the nature of the projects that they implement abroad, (that projects might continuously yield benefits for a community rather than quickly expire).

o   Likewise, students use the term empowerment to describe the type of impact that Nourish has upon students and the communities with whom Nourish partners.  In the case of students, their involvement with Nourish causes them to grow as leaders and gain empathy and perspective on issues related to global poverty.  In the case of partner communities, their engagement with Nourish equips them with tools to pull themselves out of poverty.

o   Another theme that emerged pertains to how the students go about their work with Nourish.  They engage with communities in need as partners and support the advancement of the communities’ agendas as opposed to imposing upon the community their own agenda.

o   Finally, the respondents highlighted that Nourish International is a student run movement and that it is unique in providing students with an opportunity to take direct action towards the alleviation of global poverty.

Question Two

Because Nourish is still a relatively young organization, we have the opportunity to really shape the direction of our movement. How do you envision Nourish looking when we have grown up as an organization/movement?

  • Students consistently argued for scaling the number of Nourish International chapters.  They believe that there is strong demand amongst students in their generation for what Nourish provides.  They envision Nourish being located on the majority of U.S. college campuses and perhaps beginning to spread to campuses in other countries.
  • Much like Habitat for Humanity or the Red Cross, students believe that Nourish will have a strong, recognized and respected brand.
  • Nourish students envision chapters remaining innovative in their business ventures, and mentioned the prospect of a national business in which chapters could participate.
  • Students envision the majority of Nourish International chapters running projects, and that both the scale of projects and the duration of partnership relationships will increase.  Students would like to see Nourish projects located all over the globe and perhaps domestically.
  • Nourish students believed that the advocacy and education components of the organization will become more pronounced.
  • Students articulated a hope that the organization will maintain its integrity – staying flexible, personal, and mission driven as opposed to bureaucratic and finance driven.

Question Three

In your opinion, what is success for Nourish International? How will we know when we have been successful?

  • Students defined success for Nourish International in a variety of ways.

o   At the forefront was the completion of an international project and the sustainable transformation and empowerment of the communities with which Nourish’s students partner.

o   Coming in second was the growth of the students themselves – in particular, growth in their awareness of the challenges of global poverty, ways of addressing those challenges, and faith in their own ability to make a difference.  A couple of students also measured success in terms of Nourish alumni entering into positions of power and living out Nourish’s values from those positions.

o   Students also defined success in terms of the size of the movement, usually in terms of the total numbers of students and chapters.  One student suggested that success be the total number of strong chapters, which he defined as successfully running ventures, implementing projects and transitioning leadership.

o   Success was also defined in terms of brand strength.  When people know about Nourish’s work, to the point that students and partners come to the organization unsolicited, then the organization will have succeeded.

o   A few students stated that success was ending global poverty, while another few explicitly argued that ending global poverty would not be a viable means of measuring success.

Question Four

Anything else on your mind about Nourish?

  • Answers covered an array of ideas, ranging from new marketing strategies to appreciation for Nourish’s work, and a request for clearer data on impact.

UPenn Chapter Creates Class on Poverty

April 13, 2010 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Student Spotlight | By

Members of the UPenn Chapter recently helped run a three-week program worth one-credit hour on local and global poverty at their campus. The title of the class was “Local Communities and Global Development: Where should change begin?” It featured two Penn professors, Stanley Laskowski and Dan Wagner, and social entrepreneur, Josh Tetrick. The program focused on problems that cause poverty, specifically water scarcity and illiteracy. Students in the class also learned about the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals that focus on eliminating the causes of poverty in third world countries. Tetrick was the program’s key note speaker, and he talked to students about how to become a part of social change and development initiatives.
This program increased awareness of poverty and development issues among UPenn’s student body and also allowed the UPenn Chapter to spread the name of Nourish International and its mission around campus. It was also a great signature event for the Chapter to establish on campus. Hopefully, the Chapter will be able to continue to run it in future years and inspire more leaders for social change.