By Emily Warren
“Canstruction” is a nationwide competition the citizens of Jackson take part in every year around October to help contribute to the fight against hunger by raising awareness.
Organizations in Jackson compete against one another to make the best structure out of canned food, but also work together to inform the community of hunger issues. Displays from the groups competing in Canstruction can be seen at the Old Hickory Mall, Oct. 5–22.
Leaders at Union include: senior social work majors Cassie Badillo, Rachel Curtis, Abby Taylor, Sarah Brubaker, Olivia Sells, Kalli Nicks and Carman Griffith; senior engineering majors Ian Allen and Robert Lynn; and Rachel Quinn, junior engineering major.
“Most people want to help, they just don’t know how to,” Badillo said. “This is why we participate in Canstruction at Union, to raise awareness for students and help them answer the question: ‘What can I do for my community?’”
A lot of thought is put into the structures, beginning with two questions: what to build and why to build it.
Union chose to build a table.
“The table represents the fact that even though a family might have a table in their kitchen, they might not have any food to set on it or fill it with,” Badillo said.
Sacred Heart of Jesus High School is the only high school in Jackson to participate in Canstruction this year. They chose to build a castle, named Fort Knox, to match their mascot, the Knights, said Debi Sullivan, a teacher at SHJHS.
After the structure is decided, the next step is to figure out how to construct it with permitted materials. The allocated space for the structure is 10 feet by 10 feet. Materials organizations can use besides canned food are limited to Velcro or other types of fabric fasteners, tape, rubber bands, nylon string and wire.
While engineering the table, gravity proved to be the biggest issue, Badillo said. It took Union students more than 14 hours to build the table and chairs and solve the engineering problems.
After the contest, all cans and proceeds will be donated to the Regional Inter-Faith Association. RIFA provides food for the poor in Jackson and surrounding areas.
According to the Canstruction website, the event helps raise awareness for the 49 million Americans struggling with hunger. By participating in Canstruction, Union is helping to show that one can stop hunger. To help continue this fight against hunger, students can participate in dodgeball tournaments during Homecoming Week in November.