Not only are students building a wide range of structures out of cans, but also building the Keene community as they showcase how meaningful a simple college competition can be to advocate for a good cause.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, the second annual CANstruction took place in the L.P. Young Student Center along with multiple locations on Main Street.
Six teams started the extensive day by unloading cans off of trucks bright and early at 8 a.m. and continuing to build straight through the day until finished in the late afternoon.
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Three KSC student organizations, Architecture Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Holocaust and Genocide Awareness, put forth their best efforts as well as three community groups, consisting of The Pawn Shop, Pocketful of Rye, and the Keene Church of the Nazarene.
Each team had a handful of builders who built unique sculptures out of canned food products that were donated to the local Community Kitchen and Monadnock Coalition.
Due to rough economic times, it was hard to get donations. Last year, each team had a sponsor, which equipped the group with $1,000 to spend on any cans they desired.
This year was much different as they were limited with what they could use because of a tight budget. Instead teams went to the Community Kitchen to pick out cans that had already been donated by C&S Wholesale and other grocers.
There was a list of certain items including green peas, ravioli, and a bunch of other non-perishables.
Due to the lack of funds, students had to design around what was available, which can be tough since size, shape, and color are essential to making the projects, while in other years students were able to create their designs and request the necessary cans to build their structures.
Regardless of the shortage of supplies, teams persevered to build magnificent structures that will hopefully send a symbolic message.
The nationwide charity is committed to ending hunger using one can at a time.
From an octopus holding a giant can to an enormous power saw, a startling idea was communicated.
It is true that there were judges who chose a winner and rewards were received, but more notably, the event publicized the hunger issue.
President of Holocaust and Genocide Club Brittney Sousa said that CANstruction “is a really creative approach to giving food to the Community Kitchen as opposed to having a can drive and it brings more attention to the problem.”
The hope is that if more people joined the event, more food would be donated to the food pantry. Anyone can participate in CANstruction.
It started off as architectures battling each other, but it is now opened up to anyone who likes building and, better yet, helping out the community.
Co-president of Architecture club Ryan Glick said, “It’s not too difficult, but people get intimidated by the size of the structures. Right now we have an architecture student working with another team since they don’t necessarily have the skills or computer programs to help, so we would be happy to assist other people in order to make this thing bigger.”
AmeriCorps VISTA Alyssa Day from the Community Service Office, admitted that it was difficult to get things up and running because of a changes in staff at the Community Kitchen.
“The program started planning a lot later than it was supposed to, there was a crunch time to get things in,” Day said.
Since everything was last minute, promoting was difficult as well.
E-mails were sent out to all the on-campus organizations, but it is tricky finding students who wanted to devote their time, be under time constraints, and face pressure.
It is a great deal of work. Teams first had to come up with an idea, the logistics of how many cans were needed, how they were going to design it, and finally create a structure.
Next year Day said the organizational process needs to start sooner so businesses can sponsor and more can be donated to prevent the shortage in supplies like this year’s event. Students will have more notice and a better chance of signing up.
Project Manager of Habitat for Humanity Michael Helmer said, “It’s an easy way to make people aware of the hunger issue and hopefully the great event will get bigger and bigger every year.”
Around 5,100 cans were used to build the student’s configurations, all of which were donated to the food bank to feed families.
Freshman builder Jacob Pastor commented that he “hopes other clubs get involved so the entire student center could be filled up with thousands of cans.”
People need to realize that joining the event will really make an impact and difference to those in need.
Co-president of Architecture Alex Fournier said, “It brings awareness to the Community Kitchen since a lot of people on campus don’t know that it exists or about the need they have. Making these huge sculptures gets people interested, which leads to more questions, which leads to more knowledge.”
Kateland Dittig can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org