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Beat Bama Food Drive President Sarah Perez

Sarah Perez, a junior studying Public Relations, is making her mark on the plains as president of Beat Bama Food Drive (or the BBFD). The longstanding philanthropic competition with the University of Alabama is a way to rid Alabama of hunger. Even though we live in a great and profitable city, hunger is still incredibly prevalent in East Alabama. I sat down with Sarah to learn more about her role and the food drive. 

How did you become involved with Beat Bama Food Drive? My RA freshman year was the president of BBFD at the time. He encouraged me to check it out an get involved, so I decided to become a volunteer and learn a little bit more about the organization. I never figured at the time that I would end up being the president only a couple years later! 

What’s it like being the president of a major campus organization? There are definitely times when being the food drive president can be overwhelming, but food insecurity and hunger have become something that I am very passionate about so at the end of the day I know I am working towards a greater good. 

What plans do you have to make BBFD more successful this year? I think that my year as Beat Bama Food Drive president will be successful if we beat Bama (obviously), but more importantly if our staff is able to educate the Auburn Family on the food insecurity issues that are going on in Alabama, Lee County, and even the Auburn/Opelika area. I think that we are so fortunate as Auburn students to be able to go to the best university in the country, and its our job to thank our community by giving back to those that need it. 

Why was BBFD something you wanted to be a part of? I came into Auburn wanting to be an elementary school teacher. Third grade- that was it, no other professions had even crossed my mind. As part of one of my elementary ed classes I had to do a service learning portion over at Loachapoka Elementary School and work with their after school program. Loachapoka is a low income area about 15 minutes outside Auburn. The teacher I was working with had told me that a lot of the kids in the after school program were there because their parents worked, but also because it was a guaranteed meal or snack after school that might not have come otherwise. After researching it more and getting involved with the food drive, I learned that 1 in 4 children in Lee County live in food insecure households and often miss meals. The thought of students in my classroom going without food during the day broke my heart. The Beat Bama Food Drive is so close to my heart because it directly helps people in our area that are struggling to put food on the table.  

How has being an organization president impacted you? Being an organization president has helped me develop as a leader. I have a tendency to try and do everything myself when deadlines are approaching. As a president of an organization though, I need to trust in my executive team and staff rather than taking over a project or task that they are working on. 

What other organizations have you been involved in while at Auburn? I am also currently involved in the Student Government Association as the Assistant Director of Pep Rallies, as well as a member of a social sorority on campus. 

Any advice for the new freshmen who are still learning to navigate college life? My biggest advice to freshman would be to get involved! Take advantage of all the clubs and organizations Auburn has to offer. You never know, you may find something you’re passionate about and end up as an executive officer. 

Favorite thing about Auburn? My favorite thing about Auburn is 100% watching the eagle fly over the stadium before a game. I get chills every time!

What’s the most rewarding thing about working with a philanthropic based organization? I really like that the people I am helping don’t even know who I am. If you went up to someone receiving food from the food pantry and asked them who Sarah Perez was, they would have no idea. I like that through my servant leadership, I can help make someone’s struggle just the tiniest bit easier without them feeling an obligation to thank or repay me.

Beat Bama Food Drive kicks off on October 13th and runs till November 24th. You can support the cause by donating cans around campus, purchasing the adorable BBFD t-shirt, or by volunteering at The East Alabama Food Bank!

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