Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Staffing Options

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Key Points for Staffing

  • Every Campus Kitchen needs someone who is “in charge.” We call this the Campus Kitchen Coordinator. This is the person designated to make sure the Campus Kitchen runs smoothly, complies with the safety system, reports back to its partners on campus and in the community and stays in touch with The Campus Kitchens Project nationally.
  • The Campus Kitchen Coordinator position can be filled by a full-time staff member, a part-time staff member, an AmeriCorps or other “year of service” member, a graduate student, an undergraduate student or some combination thereof.
  • We have several fully student-run Campus Kitchens. They work just as well as a Campus Kitchen with a paid staff member, but they are often smaller Campus Kitchens in terms of operations and they require a very committed base of volunteers.
  • No Campus Kitchen has ever had more than one full-time paid staff member. This does not mean that we wouldn’t consider it, but it’s a helpful guideline.
  • How you staff your Campus Kitchen should depend on the size of your school, the size of your potential Campus Kitchen, your available resources and the commitment level of your Leadership Team.
  • Even if a school has a full or part time staff member helping run the Campus Kitchen, there is typically still a student coordinator as well (we want to keep Campus Kitchens student-driven).
  • Be consistent in your staffing level. The way you choose to staff your Campus Kitchen at the beginning should generally be the way you plan to staff your Campus Kitchen for the long run. For instance, you should not plan to staff your Campus Kitchen with a full-time staff member for 3 years, and then go to an unpaid student-run Campus Kitchen after that unless you have a really good reason for that big of a change. Changing your staffing level changes the level of operations you can usually maintain, so you need to consider staffing level changes carefully.
  • There are many options for full-time staffing that do not include a full-time salary. Consider “year of service” programs like AmeriCorps, a partnership with your state’s Campus Compact office, a job-share with an existing position at your school, graduate fellowships or internships with stipends that students could fill.

Staffing Options:

1) Student Led

  • If you have a small campus with a small population of students, a student-run kitchen may make more sense for you. These kitchens often have smaller operations, meaning that they deliver a smaller number of meals to a smaller community of recipients.
  • These kitchens are impactful and have the potential to confront hunger issues in the community, only on a smaller scale.
  •  If you have a strong service learning program at your school, you may be able to “lock in” a lot of volunteers with course partnerships.
  • For student-led Campus Kitchens, it is important that each student on your Leadership Team have a specific position/role at your Campus Kitchen when it starts, and possibly a small stipend or internship payment to go along with that position. This will help you keep your costs very low for your Campus Kitchen, and will be a great leadership opportunity for students.
  • Be careful that you’re starting slow and small with your operations and growing in a sustainable way.
  • Remember: Even though you are a “student-led” kitchen, you will still need to have a sponsoring office on campus.

2) Part Time Staff (Grad Assistant, Americorps) 

  • For schools that envision a larger program than the one described previously, we recommend considering some paid staffing, though not necessarily a full-time staff member (this could also mean that a full time staff member spends part of their time dedicated to the Campus Kitchen).
  • These programs usually have somewhat ambitious plan for operations, and there will be room to grow as the program gains popularity.
  • Kitchen space for these programs is usually larger and the population of students motivated to participate may be larger as well.
  • In addition, dining services at these types of schools think there will be enough food to recover for more than 100 meals per month.
  • A part-time staff member, graduate assistant or AmeriCorps member will facilitate the success of the program, but won’t be as resource-intensive as having full-time staff. Your school may already have “year of service” staff members on campus, and that’s a great place to start looking for your coordinator.
  • Remember: Even if you have a staff coordinator, you will still want to have a strong student Leadership Team.

3) Full-Time Staff 

  • For larger schools that with capacity for a larger Campus Kitchen, we recommend a full-time staff member.
  • This will ensure that all of the safety precautions are in place ahead of time, all of the reporting is turned in on time and all of your partners are well-informed with a staff member whose only job is to run this Campus Kitchen.
  • For schools who need a little more safety assurance or who plan an ambitious Campus Kitchen, we think having someone on staff full-time is best.
  • Our schools with full-time staff generally find they can do more programming and start more partnerships, and often, these staff members can play a big part in raising money for the program.
  • Remember!: Even if you have a staff coordinator, you will still want to have a strong student Leadership Team.

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