The University of Waterloo partnered with Feds to run CanBuild, an initiative to raise donations for the on-campus food bank. Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to form teams that collect non-perishable food items and create a structure built out of their donations.
The competition ran from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28 with 13 teams competing for six award categories, including Best Meal, Ingenuity, Most Cans, Judges’ Award, Spirit Award, and People’s Choice.
This is the first year CanBuild is on campus, and is similar to Canstruction, a region-wide version of the structure building competition, which often includes corporate teams like BlackBerry and WalterFedy.UW usually sponsors two teams for Canstruction, one from the faculty of engineering and one from the faculty of architecture.
“We know that our engineering teams and our architecture teams are really experts in this area,” said Kelly McManus, senior director of community relations and events. “But we also thought that it would be fun for our entire campus to get in on the action. Something fun to do with your team, some friendly competition across our campus, and at the end of the day it’s for a really good cause.”
The cash and can donations went to the Feds Food Bank. Last term 173 visitors went to the Feds Food Bank, and needed a total of 1,600 lbs of food. Once the shelves are filled at the Feds Food Bank, any remaining donations will go to the wider community at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
Many creative structures were submitted with photos and tweets collected on the official UW Storify account. Most of the entries included puns such as WatPD’s CANada Goose made out of cans with a pasta nest — winner of the People’s Choice Award and the Spirit Award.
“There are some competitive people on our team so literally down to the last minute we were making changes,” said Amy Fernandes, instructional support co-ordinator, WatPd. “We’re already thinking about how we can do it differently next year. So we’d absolutely do it again. I hope they do it again on campus.”
The CECA team’s structure, “The Perfect CANdidate,” was a can-shaped structure made out of non-perishable goods that represented the characteristics of a great job candidate and won them the Best Meal Award.
Team Angry Tuna, the Stratford campus team, won the Most Cans Award for building a CANera: a giant camera built out of 500 cans; complete with a working lens which was connected to an iPad by Wi-Fi so it could take photos.
Each team had a unique strategy for collecting goods, including cash or food donation boxes and donation matching programs.
“We got some money when the department sponsored us and we got it matched by Sobey’s and SuperStore. They matched half each,” said Stephanie Tortorici, marketing associate, and captain of the CECA team.
The Stratford team also used donation matching and paired up with their local food bank, the House of Blessings.
“We collected $300,” said Brandi Gillet, outreach manager. “House of Blessings, the food bank, went to local grocery stores on our behalf to see who would be willing to match the donations. No Frills came on board here in Stratford.”
Other winners included the Student Success Office for the Ingenuity Award for “Bridge to Success,” and the VeloCity team’s “Velociminions” which won the Judge’s Award.