CANstruction: Day One

Members of Student Government Association laying out cans on their entry during Texas Tech Student Involvement's second annual CANstruction completion on Feb. 23, 2020 at 2 p.m. in the Red Raider Ballroom at the Student Union. Teams had three hours to construct their entry. CANstruction will continue on Feb. 23, 2020, with three more teams competing and open voting from the public for the best entry.

The Texas Tech Center for Campus Life hosted the second annual CANstruction competition on Sunday afternoon to collect cans and nonperishable food items for the Raider Red Food Pantry.

The two-day event, which took place in the Red Raider Ballroom in the Student Union Building, will continue on Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the same location.

Student organizations and campus departments enter the competition and build structures out of cans to compete for various titles including most creative, best meal, most cans and people’s choice, Keri Shiplet, assistant director in the Center for Campus life in charge of Student Involvement, said. Shiplet organized the event.

“The organization or the department is responsible for either collecting or purchasing their cans or nonperishable food items, and then they’re responsible for coming up with a design that then they’re going to build out of those cans,” she said.

The public can view and vote on the completed structures Monday from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the Red Raider ballroom, Shiplet said. The votes will determine the people’s choice awards for both student organization and campus departments.

Winners for all awards will be announced at 2:30 p.m., Shiplet said.

The donated cans help replenish the Raider Red Food Pantry during a time of year when there is a lull in donations, Ileana Hinojosa, administrator in Center for Campus life, said. Hinojosa oversees the Raider Red food pantry, which is available to all students with a student ID.

“It’s actually a nationwide problem that most people tend to give to food banks and food pantries and stuff like that around November, December, so those are a big giving time,” she said. “And then people stop thinking about giving to pantries and food banks when the year starts back up, and so everything that was donated during the giving time starts to dwindle down and that is a problem nationwide.”

The Raider Red Food Pantry, which had a soft opening in the Fall of 2017, had 680 visits in the Fall of 2018 and 856 visits in the Fall of 2019, Hinojosa said.

“So we definitely have seen students utilizing it and there’s an increase in students using it,” she said. “So we know that we’re reaching students that are in need, but we know that there’s a lot more that haven’t come to visit yet.”

Last year, around 1000 cans were collected for Raider Red Food Pantry from the competition, Shiplet said, although 800 of those cans came from one participant who is not competing this year. But this year, there are seven donating student organizations and departments compared to last year’s four.

“This year, I don’t know, it just depends,” she said.  “Our hope is to at least hit 1000, if not more.”

Kristen Pettit, a junior marketing major from Stephenville, attended the event as part of Zeta Tau Alpha. Pettit is the vice president for philanthropy in the sorority, which collected 165 cans.

Her group built a five-point crown of the cans, the symbol of the sorority, she said. The leftovers cans were being used to spell out ZTA, the sorority’s letters.

The competition is a more engaging way to donate than a traditional canned food drive where the cans are just dropped of, Pettit said. This event allows participants to feel like they are doing more to give back and is more fun.

“Here, like we’re like working together and doing something fun out of it, and so it’s a great way to get us more involved and like feel like we’re doing more for the community,” she said.

Shiplet said she thinks the competition encourages donations to the Red Raider Food Pantry. It is a fun way to participate, and people have the opportunity to be more creative and critical thinking.

“(The CANstruction competition) gives them an opportunity to have some fun, work together as a team, and not only contribute, but also have fun,” she said.

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