Yes we can: UHS revamps food drive efforts with Can Challenge


Kendrick Nguyen

This year, UHS collected around 3000 cans, which is nearly double our numbers from last year’s drive. (Kendrick Nguyen)

Staff Writers

From November 3 to 14, University High School (UHS) hosted a can drive for Families Forward, a non-profit Orange County based organization focused on helping families who are homeless or at risk to be. Cans were donated to families who cannot afford food, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Cans were collected in four large bins in front of the ASB room, room 407, and in homeroom classes.
The first can drive began as a competition in 2012 when UHS was challenged by El Toro High School. Now, the competition is strictly a district wide competition between the four high schools of Irvine: University, Northwood, Irvine, and Woodbridge.
Last year, UHS fell third to Irvine and Northwood High School, but the new addition to the can drive encouraged more donations. Michael Wu (Fr.), Margaret Bilder (Sr.), Holly Mcruer (Sr.), Biyonka Liang (Sr.), and Yauss Agahi (Sr.) created the idea for the University Can Challenge (UCC).
Inspired by the viral ALS Ice bucket challenge of this past summer, the University Can Challenge asked nominated students to donate three or more cans to the drive. ASB President Gopal Vashishtha (Sr.), said that they “needed an innovative publicity strategy” to have people donate cans.
If students did not donate three canned food items, they were to crack a raw egg on their heads, with video documentation uploaded to any form of social media. Mcruer, who uploaded the inaugural #UCC video to Facebook, said “We created the challenge to help students get excited about donating cans! We hope students are continually nominating others to complete the challenge.”
Mcruer and Bilder received some criticism because the challenge “wastes food for a food drive,” however, the University Can Challenge was created in hopes that students would choose the more positive of the two options.
This year, University High School donated 3,005 cans for families in need. We more than doubled the amount of cans donated last year, which is a great improvement. Students are already looking to how they can improve next year’s donation numbers. Winners will be announced once all of the remaining high schools complete their respective can drives.
Spencer Ma (Sr.) said, “publicity and participation in the can drive was really good but I think one thing we could have improved on was getting the homerooms involved more by emphasizing the competition and encouraging individual homerooms to try and donate the most cans.” David Kim (Jr.) added that improvement could first start by improving homeroom participation because, “it was really successful in some classes more than others, unfortunately.”  With these comments in mind, UHS looks forward to raising its donation numbers in next year’s can drive.