Members Making An Impact

The Food for Thought Initiative is a collective of various faculty and staff within the Lethbridge and Calgary campuses. This diversity in staff makes the program so successful in reaching its students. The development of programs and the continued growth is often anonymous, so we would like to acknowledge all of its valued members who go the extra mile! 
Erin Phillips

Erin Phillips

A couple of years ago we did a survey of students at the U of L and discovered to no one's surprise that a disturbing number of them were going without adequate food on a regular basis.  This confirmed what we had known anecdotally for some time...many of our students suffer from food insecurity. 

As a chaplain, I am committed to doing all that I can to ensure that our students are supported.  For many years my congregations, along with catholic churches in the area, and community groups and individuals have gathered groceries to hand out at the end of the fall and winter terms.  Now we stock the food pantries on campus and work with the Food for Thought committee to support other food initiatives.  

We know that brains need food and that they need to be able to focus on schoolwork and not worry about where the next meal will come from.  Food security is a critical post-secondary issue.

Food For Thought Initiative Member

Spencer Simkin

I graduated from the U of L in 2016 with my B.Mus majoring in Digital Audio Arts I am also a Pronghorn Alumni having been a member of the swim team from 2010-2015. Before moving into post-secondary as a profession, I was a coach for well over a decade and I am still passionate about athletics to this day. As former athlete and coach I know how important a balanced diet is, and as a former student I know how hard it can be to maintain that healthy diet while not breaking the bank. I love cooking and I joined this program in the hopes that I can share that love with our students. I now reside in Calgary at the Calgary Campus and with the rise in cost of living here I wanted to join a program that gives back to students in an area I am very passionate about. If you ever need a cheap, harty recipe stop by my office and lets chat!

Crystal Volk

As a dedicated member of the Student Affairs team, I am actively involved in promoting student well-being. I take pride in my role as the co-chair of the Food for Thought Committee at the University of Lethbridge, where I have the privilege of spearheading innovative initiatives aimed at enhancing food security on our campus.

During the last year as co-chair, I have co-facilitated the expansion of the fresh food program, ensuring that students benefit from improved accessibility to nutritious and affordable food options on campus. We established a strategic partnership with the Lethbridge Foodbank, increasing resources available to our students. In collaboration with Campus Roots, we successfully launched a campus garden initiative, enabling students to cultivate their own produce, make new connections, and spend time outdoors. We are currently developing a food literacy program tailored for our students, which is scheduled to be rolled out in the fall of 2023. I have also had the privilege of co-presenting on the topic of ULethbridge's food security programming at events, including the 2022 Canadian Association of College & University Student Services conference and the 2023 International Summit hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario.

The impactful work of the Food for Thought committee undeniably touches the lives of our students,  and the knowledge that I am making a meaningful contribution to their well-being is gratifying.

Diana Letts-Piedrahita Teaching Development Facilitator & Sessional Instructor

Diana Letts-Piedrahita

As a volunteer and co-chair of the Food For Thought Initiative, I'm deeply committed to tackling food insecurity on our campus. My dedication comes from a genuine concern for our students. Their presence not only inspires our mission but also constantly drives us to improve their well-being and campus experience.

Food insecurity is a pressing issue that affects many students. It is the unfortunate reality that some of our students may not have consistent access to nutritious meals. This issue can have a significant impact on their physical health, mental well-being, and academic success. The Food For Thought Committee recognizes the urgency of this challenge and is dedicated to making a difference.

Our commitment extends to partnering with community organizations to ensure the success of our initiatives. We've also taken a proactive step by coordinating various projects, we actively involve applied studies students who share our enthusiasm. We also are developing a comprehensive Food Literacy program, which will empower students with the knowledge and skills to make informed, healthy food choices.

The success of our initiative hinges on cooperation with our university community. We warmly invite students and all members of our university community to join us, get involved, and share their ideas. Together, we can make a significant impact in addressing food insecurity and improving the well-being of our campus community.