Free Food on Campus! “Villanova Food News” Confronts Food Waste


Courtesy of Villanova University

The “Food News” group aims to mitigate food waste on campus.

Nicole Liddicoat, Staff Writer

The food waste epidemic has become an increasingly intense problem, contributing to food insecurity nationwide and high levels of methane gas released from landfills. 


Food waste piles on fast, and college campuses create favorable circumstances for excess food from random events and meetings to go unnoticed. Food waste’s environmental and social impact burdens universities, and students are attempting to do something about it. 


The Villanova Sustainable Leadership Council has developed branches of its initiative, namely the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), which focuses on making student life more sustainable by fostering leadership and action to create real change campus-wide. 


The SCC has noticed the surplus of food that gets thrown away by the school. In an effort to help prevent food insecurity and minimize food waste, they created a group on the messaging app “GroupMe.” The “Villanova Food News” chat is a curated space built to advertise free food around campus that would otherwise go unnoticed. 


The group’s founders have encouraged the addition of as many students as possible, with the member total now reaching roughly 1,060 people, an impressive feat for a group that began in September of last year. 


The guidelines pertaining to the group are straightforward. The group’s pinned comment explains that the chat “pertains to free food, fundraisers for a positive cause or topic relating to those things.” Food information is at the forefront of this initiative. 


The student contribution to this group is impressive, with frequent notifications of food that can be found all over campus. From extra pizza and fruit to leftover catering from events, students will update with pictures and captions detailing what is up for grabs and exactly where to find it. 


Patrick Carney, a current junior and co-chair of the SCC, helps to promote and maintain the group and its efforts. 


“The SCC-founded group aims to help combat food waste on campus in any way possible,” Carney said. “Prior to the group’s founding, any extra food on campus from group meetings or events would often be thrown away or wasted. Now, [they] estimate that the group has diverted over 500 pounds of food waste and counting.”


The average Villanova student does not realize just how significant of a problem food waste has become on campus, as multiple students who joined the chat commented on the high volume of posts. 


“I was surprised to see how much leftover food there is from on-campus events. It is nice to have a group where this food might not go to waste,” one comment read.


The chat has become an established campus society. With people adding their friends, it has become a recognizable name for a good cause. Eliminating food waste is an essential element in combating food insecurity, and if this can be done by giving away leftover food for free, no college student would complain. 


“Who doesn’t want free food?” numerous students expressed. 


“There was a whole box of free pizza in Bartley that would have gone to waste… and I was happy to help eat it,” an anonymous member said. 


The “Villanova Food News” chat is a first-hand look at students creating change on campus regarding food waste and sustainability initiatives. The group has grown tremendously and is not looking to quit any time soon.