Recovering Philanthropy at Rowan University

Sam smiling for a portrait outside Engineering Hall.

Sam Bollendorf poses in Engineering Hall.Meet Samantha Bollendorf, sophomore biomedical engineering major from Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County.) She shares her passion for volunteering with the Food Recovery Network and encourages students to deepen their volunteer experiences on-campus. 

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” – George Eliot

There are few feelings, as a college student and human being, that rival the sensation of giving back to a cause, any cause, that matters to you. Giving all that we can do individually to better the lives of those that we empathize with is just about as rewarding as it gets, and it’s safe to say that we all wish we could participate in philanthropic efforts a little more than we already do.

It’s easy to be philanthropic when you’re a well-established gajillionaire, but as an undergraduate 20-something scraping together loose change to do your laundry and buy discount cereal from Aldi, donating to your favorite non-profits is an act easier said than done. Money is tight, and some days, starting a personal GoFundMe to keep your Spotify subscription afloat doesn’t seem all too crazy. All of this begs the question: “How can I give back on-campus in a way that works for me?”

As a student who actively volunteers and is constantly searching for ways to be more immersed on campus, I can assure you that Rowan offers a plethora of opportunities for students to give back. The breadth of volunteer efforts on campus reach a scope far beyond the bounds of our school — philanthropic efforts tend to reach the Glassboro community, as well as greater national causes.

That being said, it can be difficult to weed through the zillions of opportunities provided by our university to find the activities that really resonate with us as individuals. After a full year (and one semester) here at Rowan, I’ve found my own personal unsung hero of philanthropy in the form of Rowan’s Food Recovery Network.

Rowan’s Food Recovery Network is a small, student-led organization on campus that works on a weekly basis to source unused, otherwise wasted food from Rowan University’s dining halls. Students and faculty transport recovered food to local shelters in the Glassboro community. Food Recovery Network redirects food waste to a worthy cause, and gives students a chance to positively impact their surrounding community in a way that’s meaningful, and of course, doable.

Food Recovery Network logo Being a part of something like Food Recovery Network at Rowan, a university that encourages sustainability and practicing sustainable habits, is extremely rewarding. Being able to give back to those that have lent a hand in building beautiful Glassboro — the town that us Profs get to call home — is an opportunity I’m beyond grateful to have.

The best part? I don’t have to dip into my Spotify subscription fund to give back — all that I need to donate is my time, energy and my drive, shared by everyone at Food Recovery, to make the lives of those around us just a little less difficult. That’s the case with most volunteer efforts at Rowan University — so enhance your college experience, and lend a hand!

Like what you see, learn more about our healthy campus initiatives!


Story by:
Samantha Bollendorf, sophomore biomedical engineering major

Photos by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major