Tyler Huntington ’18 has received a Newman Civic Fellows Award, in recognition of his service to the public and motivation to promote food justice.
From working in community gardens and soup kitchens to campaigning for the preservation of fragile ecosystems, Huntington’s activism has taken many forms. While the Newman recognizes these efforts, Huntington views the honor in a broader context.
“It’s really a reflection of the great work that [the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility] is promoting, and the impact that has on the College community and beyond,” says Huntington, a biology and environmental studies major from Danville, Calif. “I view it as a win for Swarthmore.”
The Lang Center nominated Huntington for the award, which is bestowed by the nonprofit organization Campus Contact. As a Chester Community Fellow, he worked at the Ruth Bennett Community Farm last summer, and he was the student-leader of the Chester Youth Gardening Cooperative during the school year. Huntington has also led the Swarthmore chapter of the Scholar Activist Alliance, a Project Pericles funded initiative to connect professors and students to community organizations with research needs.
“Tyler’s entrepreneurial spirit, passion, authenticity, and leadership skills equip him well to play a key role in the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” President Valerie Smith says in the College’s nominating letter.
Huntington joins a group of 218 student leaders from colleges across the United States. In keeping with their generation’s emphasis on networks over hierarchies, the fellows are encouraged to share ideas and materials to further their work through an exclusive online community.
“Virtual networking is a pretty invaluable tool to have in this day and age,” says Huntington. “It’s inspiring to see what other students are working on and to maybe borrow ideas to integrate into my service here at Swarthmore.”
Huntington was recently named a Lang Opportunity Scholar to extend his food justice work in Chester and is finalizing plans to spend his summer with a food justice organization in Philadelphia or his home state of California.
“That there are 50 million Americans living in hunger to this day astonishes me,” says Huntington, who is also a McCabe Scholar. “There is enough food in the system to feed everyone, but it’s not getting out to the people who need it most."
“I’m trying to figure out what’s happening in those efforts and see how my work here can help to alleviate those issues,” he adds. “Not just in faraway places but right next door to us in Chester.”