HOCO: CANstruction Competition Fuels the Food Pantry, The SHOP

Theta Phi Alpha x Theta Chi members stand by their CANstruction. -Contributor / Connor Brown

The SHOP, Rowan’s food pantry, hosted the Homecoming CANstruction Competition on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The event was sponsored by the Chamberlain Student Center and Campus Activities and ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

For the competition, teams had to bring their own canned goods, which were donated at the conclusion of the event. This built a structure following this year’s, fairytale homecoming theme, “Once Upon A Prof.”  

“CANstruction is an event where teams come together and build different sculptures following the homecoming theme. But what’s most important about it is the team building and all the items that they bring together will go to the SHOP, the food pantry on campus,” said Ashley Davis, coordinator of events and technology support. “Last year we had about 3,000 cans that we donated, so this year I’m hoping to get a couple thousand more.”

The SHOP, created by SGA in 2017, greatly benefits from an event like CANstruction especially this year as they’ve had an influx of students in need of services this semester.  

“We’ve had unprecedented demand this year, having 300 to 400 students a week coming through the food pantry. So events like this help us restock quickly and be able to serve more students,” said Becky Foster, the coordinator of the SHOP. 

The eight teams that participated were judged on the appearance and execution, creativity of design, theme and articulation on a scale of 1-10.

Every team had the same idea: castles. The nature of canned goods made it difficult to build anything else relevant to the theme. 

However, despite this, each castle had its own personal variations that stood out. 

For example, the Bowling Club was able to make use of the limited amount of canned goods they had, because while small in stature, they compensated by including a macaroni and cheese drawbridge and a throne fit for royalty made of Pirate Booty cheese puffs. 

“Homecoming is that time to bond with the rest of Rowan. For us personally, even though we only had 3 or 4 people here, it was an opportunity to get to know the people better in my club,” said Bowling Club team member, Katerina Kochka-Thomas. 

The Ultimate Frisbee team used their surroundings to impress the judges. Based on the influence of Rapunzel, this team, stacked with engineers, took a piece of nearby loose straw and taped it to the top of their lofty tower. 

“It just kinda felt natural. We were trying to figure out what to do and we figured that Rapunzel’s was going to be creative and unique. And you can’t have Rapunzel’s tower without her letting down her hair,” said Ultimate Frisbee member, Ethan Ryan-Koubis.

At the halftime of Rowan University’s Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 22, the results of the CANstruction were announced. Theta Chi x Theta Phi Alpha took home the hardware with 108 points. 

The team from Chamberlain Student Center & Campus activities (SCCA) came in second place with 107 points while the Club Swim team placed third with 106 points. 

While there was some competitive spirit Wednesday afternoon, the most important part was getting more supplies for the SHOP as there are twice as many people in need of their services. And the SHOP is twice as determined to supply them.

“It’s been a very busy semester and we’re doing the best that we can to keep things stocked up. But, we really do appreciate student groups that have food drives and they can also get service hours for those food drives,” said Foster. 

The SHOP’s hours of operation have changed. Starting Nov. 1, the SHOP will now be open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays between the hours of 9 a.m. to 11 a.m instead of their past Monday and Friday schedule. Students can visit their page on Rowan’s website for further information on the services they provide or if they’re looking to join the 20 volunteers that help out each week with the SHOP.

“The Rowan community is very supportive of what we’re doing for students. It’s been great to connect with faculty and staff all across the university. They’ve been very supportive, even during the pandemic when student groups couldn’t help out, faculty and staff really stepped up and donated a lot of items,” Foster said. “We also work with a lot of community partners, so it’s been great to get to know what’s going on in our community and have them step up and support Rowan.”

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