Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:04

Milk an extra healthy choice at MHC Nov. 19-20

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John Henning, manager of business operations at the Medicine Hat College, stumbled upon a good idea to help out those students who are struggling to meet ends meet.

He noticed one day, while literally almost tripping over a milk jug while in the cafeteria area of the college, a pile of milk jugs and cartons sitting in the back area and it dawned on him that this could be a way to help the students through an internal college program.
Thanks to some internal collaboration which was spearheaded by Henning in partnership with the Medicine Hat College Foundation, the college’s Food Services will donate all recycling deposits from milk jugs and cartons to the Foundation and the Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund.
“I asked what are we doing with these (jugs),” Henning recalls.  
He thought perhaps if the cartons were organized into one area, there could be something special set up with Redi Enterprises Society to come pick them up and keep them organized with the proceeds going directly to Pathways.  
Henning says having worked in higher education, he knows there are students who are struggling to make ends meet. That’s not because of an overexuberant  social life or frivolous spending, but because they have worked from the ground up, through hard times and after tuition, books and perhaps accommodation, there is not a lot left for sustenance. 
“It’s really difficult, even for the very intelligent, who may go without a nutritional meal, to maintain (their grades),” Henning adds. 
He discussed the idea with food services personnel and management and the feeling was unanimous to put the money towards the fund. 
The Foundation’s Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund is all part and parcel of the 50 Acts of College which is part of Medicine Hat College’s 50th anniversary. 
The college is generating 50 ideas which try to do something which will benefit individuals and worthwhile organizations both outside of the college, and within it. 
In this case, the Pathways fund helps those qualifying students (i.e. with a 2.0 average) who are in need of the basics such as money for food or being able to afford to pay the utility bill that month.They receive a bursary to help the students with living expenses. It’s different from a scholarship which goes towards tuition and education costs.
 “We do have students who need help,” explains Trish O’Grady, development officer who works with the Foundation. She was pleased with the idea and has worked with Henning on co-ordinating the initiative. 
“We really wanted to help those students who are financially strained and facing the choice between education (costs) and something like the utility bills,” she adds. 
“It’s also about creating those partnerships both external and internally in the college. Both the Food Services and the Foundation benefit.” 
They have been pleased with the amount of milk jugs gathered so far, but there will be a big push for milk jug gathering Nov. 19-20 as there will be a spot to drop off milk jugs. 
The plan is for students, staff or any member of the general public to drop off milk jugs at Centennial Hall, however there was also a hope they could get REDI to park one of their recycling vehicles out front of the college in the parking lot and people could drop off their milk jugs then. 
O’Grady and Henning are hoping  everyone is drinking a lot of milk between now and next week.
People are asked to wash and flatten the milk jugs prior to dropping them off. 
“Building that Fund is aligning with a lot of the (50 Acts) activities we’re doing,” O’Grady explains. “And recycling is a win-win for the environment too.”
Besides the milk jug round up Nov. 19-20, there will be another one done in the spring.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor