Being in college is tough. Not only are you adjusting to the idea of being “on your own” but you’re also balancing your now-boundless social life with school work and classes, volunteering, sports and exercise, and a job or work study program. All while doing your own laundry and dishes! No matter how busy or open your schedule may be, I’m sure you all can agree it would be pretty hard to imagine putting something has time-consuming and ambitious as starting your own non-profit on your plate.

However, college students are somehow finding time to raise awareness for skin cancer, teach children in Nigeria how to use computers, and feed the homeless in between English Lit. midterms and homecoming games! Here are some awesome non-profit organizations that were started by some inspiring people during their undergraduate years:

Food Recovery Network

Have you ever sat in your campus dining hall and marveled at all the food they have? Have you ever wondered how much probably goes uneaten at the end of the day?

Ben Simon thought about this while he was a student at the University of Maryland, and saw it as an injustice.

“Huge amounts of leftover food from campus dining halls and sports events were being thrown away. At the same time, one in eight people in the D.C. area were struggling with hunger, not to mention that the food from the UMD dining halls was sitting in landfills, contributing to global warming,” said Simon on the Food Recovery Network blog.

And so, in 2011, he founded the Food Recovery Network.Found of Food Recovery Network

Now with chapters from Maine to Seattle, the Food Recovery Network operates in a way that allows students to volunteer while also giving back to their community. Each night, as participating campus dining halls close, student volunteers pick up donated leftover food that would have normally been thrown out. The food is then brought to nearby shelters and food banks.

Now registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Food Recovery Network has also received social entrepreneurship awards, outside seed money, and has expanded to numerous academic institutions across the country. They’ve also started a partnership with select private restaurants who donate leftover food to feed those in need.


Stay tuned for part two of this post, coming soon!