Troy University student selected to participate in Oxfam's CHANGE Initiative

Posted: Wednesday, 06 May 2015

TROY - Troy University junior Leebo Tyler is one of 50 students from across the country to be selected to participate in a year-long program through Oxfam, a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger and injustice.

Oxfam's CHANGE Initiative annually brings 50 college students from throughout the country together in Boston for a rigorous weeklong training that combines group activities, expert panels and workshops. The training session kicks off the yearlong leadership training program that builds students' leadership and advocacy skills and introduces them to sophisticated and powerful models for social change.

Founded in 2000, CHANGE has trained more than 770 student leaders from more than 340 colleges and universities.

"Being selected for me means that Oxfam sees that I'm in it for the right reasons," said Tyler, a resident of Eight Mile. "I have a passion for helping others, and I'm looking forward to seizing this opportunity. I hope to gain as much knowledge about different avenues for campaigning for social justice issues. The fact that there are 49 other participants has me excited to learn why they get involved and how I can help our university as they have helped theirs."

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 member organizations working in more than 90 countries to create solutions to hunger and poverty and conducting campaigns to bring about lasting, positive social change.

Tyler is no stranger to efforts to alleviate poverty and hunger. He has been involved with the University's anti-hunger efforts since his freshman year, and in November, when TROY's Campus Kitchen program began, Tyler became the inaugural president.

Tyler's involvement and passion recently earned him the Ingrid Easton Student Visionary Award during Campus Kitchen's second annual Food Waste and Hunger Summit, held April 18-19 on the campus of the University of Georgia. During the event, TROY students joined other college students to share ideas and learn from experts in the fields of social justice, social enterprise, public health and non-profit management.

"I was really surprised about the award," Tyler said. "My favorite part of Campus Kitchens is taking the food down to Head Start, the Love Center, and the Senior Complex because I get a direct feel for how things are progressively getting better and seeing the joy on people's faces."

Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of the University's service learning and civic engagement programs, said Tyler is a dependable and responsible leader who provides an outstanding example for his peers.

"Leebo has worked tirelessly over the last year to ensure that our Campus Kitchen is successful," Cellon said. "Leebo is skilled at generating volunteer interest, speaking to groups and taking the initiative to make our weekly cooking shifts and deliveries a success. When something needs to be done, Leebo does it. He is consistently positive and is always looking to leverage the resources we have for a greater impact for our community and client organizations. These awards demonstrate the leader that Leebo is, the hard work he does, and the potential he has."

Campus Kitchens, founded in 2001, currently has 45 university and high school campuses across the country participating in the fight against hunger. Each Campus Kitchen goes further by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implementing garden initiatives, participating in nutrition education, and brings together good policy events. TROY kicked off its Campus Kitchens program last November.

Leebo Tyler

Leebo Tyler, a junior mathematics major from Eight Mile, Ala., was recently honored with the Ingrid Easton Student Visionary Award during Campus Kitchens' Food Waste and Hunger Summit at the University of Georgia. In addition, Tyler has been selected as one of 50 students from across the country to participate in a year-long program through Oxfam, a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger and injustice. From left to right are: Stephany Ruano, a sophomore elementary education major from Athens, Ala.; Holly Elkins, a graduate mental health counseling student from Opelika; Tyler; Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of the University's service learning and civic engagement programs; and, Bailey Sutton, a freshman collaborative education major from Homewood.