Are you a grilled cheese fan? Do you like supporting charitable organizations? Then look no further than Boston University’s FeelGood chapter. Abby Mack, president of BU FeelGood, is a senior in the Dual Degree program studying psychology and advertising, and she’s here to tell us more about the club.
How/why did you become involved in BU FeelGood?
I initially joined FeelGood after attending Splash my freshman year, when I incorrectly identified the club as a grilled cheese fan club because of the person in a grilled cheese costume. I went to the first meeting and found out it was actually a lot more than a grilled cheese fan club, and I have been in the club ever since! I started off as a general member and was excited that 30 minutes of my time making grilled cheese could make such a difference. I then became the event coordinator during my spring semester and helped with projects, such as our first grilled cheese eating contest and our first delivery service. Since the spring of 2018, I have been the President!
[bf_image id="q7jv4l-6di69s-fc39bd"]Credit: Abby Mack
Can you talk about the charitable aspect of the club?
FeelGood is unique because it is a completely youth-led movement. The executive board of directors of the organization is completely run by young adults under 30 who are previous alumni of FeelGood university chapters. Additionally, all 25 active university chapters are completely run by student volunteers. Each university chapter creates and operates their own delis in which the students sell grilled cheese to their local community or campus.
Entrepreneurship efforts are entirely the responsibility of the volunteers. In Boston University’s chapter, for example, we operate weekly delis in Warren Dining Hall from 10:30-1 am! All of the proceeds from the chapters go to the Commitment 2030 fund, a coalition of four organizations dedicated to targeting the root causes that perpetuate poverty worldwide in an attempt to end severe world hunger by the year 2030. These organizations include The Hunger Project, Water for People, CHOICE Humanitarian, and the Pachamama Alliance.
Why is the hunger issue important to you?
I think the issue of hunger is important to me because it is the physical manifestation of a multitude of other global problems. Hunger is not only an issue of inadequate amounts of food, but of human rights violations, political corruption, ecological damage, lapses in sustainable development, poverty, and inequality. In order to solve hunger, we also need to address the issues that maintain hunger. Addressing hunger is about empowering individuals and giving everyone the self-reliance, respect, and livelihood they deserve as human beings. Especially as climate change becomes more and more pressing, severe hunger rises as well. As climates change, waters rise, and pollution increases, more individuals are pushed into hunger.
Credit: Abby Mack
Why do you enjoy being involved in the club?
One of my favorite things is all of the conversations I am able to have with students, as well as the awareness I get to bring to the issue of world hunger. I think it is very easy for college students to feel weighed down and unable to make global change, whether it be because we’re too young, don’t have enough of a voice, or simply don’t have the money to give to the causes we want to support. That’s why I love FeelGood so much. It turns something as accessible as grilled cheese into a way that students can contribute to a global initiative and feel like they’re making a difference. Students are able to use their dining points for our sandwiches, helping to make donations more affordable for student budgets. Additionally, if students want to contribute without purchasing a sandwich, they are welcome to help by donating their time to making sandwiches that contribute to the cause. I think FeelGood is such a fun way for students to contribute to global change through something they may already be doing, like snacking at Late Night dining hours.
Please describe your role as president.
As president, I am mostly the spokesperson of our chapter and the first point of contact for both our National Organization and other organizations and clubs around campus. I also work with acquiring and maintaining sponsorships with brands and businesses that donate products for our events. It’s especially important as a non-profit to get as many of our materials donated as possible to maximize the proceeds to our partner organizations. Because of this, we are so incredibly grateful to all of our local bakery partners and corporate sponsors like Organic Valley and Cabot Co-Op for their support. One of my other main priorities is to organize and motivate our team, as well as set our yearly fundraising goals and focuses. I also lead and participate in all of our fundraisers, so you’ll usually find me behind the grill or frantically running around with a clipboard at events like our Grilled Cheese Eating Contest that we hosted last month. If you see me, feel free to say “Hi!” I can usually be found wearing my bedazzled Red Sox hat!
[bf_image id="q7jv4m-81ym4g-1pci52"]Credit: Abby Mack
Is there anything else you’re involved in on campus?
I also work as a research assistant and project lead at the Boston University Social Learning Lab, a child psychology research lab on campus. I am currently working on my honors thesis there, which focuses on how children may form relationships with and selectively trust media characters, as well as interpreting how their consumer behaviors may be impacted as a result. For example, one of the questions I’m looking at is what traits make children more likely to view a character like Elsa or Tony the Tiger as a friend or information source, and if those traits make them more likely to value an item endorsed by that character as being inherently more valuable.