Thursday, April 28, 2016

Francesca Giganti and Alanna Johnson FOOD WASTE commons campaign

Food Waste
Francesca Giganti & Alanna Johnson
Damien Pfister
COMM 250
Commons Campaign

Commons Campaign Proposal

Rhetorical Situation

The problem Alanna and Francesca will be addressing is the global epidemic of food waste. The intended audience is every human who consumes food that inevitably contributes to food waste. The constraints of this project include how much time we will have to complete the task, and our abilities to utilize the wikipedia website. Another constraint might be how few people actually look up our topic, and actually go to wikipedia for reliable information. This is a constraint because teachers often do not give wikipedia enough credit, and sometimes even ban students from using information found from the site.  Our affordances include the ability to use research we have already gathered thus far (excluding any about college campuses) in our new efforts. This project gives anyone who might stumble upon wikipedia’s Food Waste page the opportunity to use the data that we have gathered and made available all in one place. This topic undoubtedly embodies exigence considering there are millions of starving people in the world, yet there is more than enough food to feed them purely from what is wasted every year. The exigence can also be the blatant effects of food waste: landfills, greenhouse gases, and energy costs directly involved. It is imperative we as consuming people change our ways, and solve our own problem.
Our first idea was to create a demonstration in dining halls on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, in hopes of reaching college students as an audience. The initial plan was to measure food waste during a lunch-hour or dinner-time at the Training Table and the Selleck or Harper dining halls. Our idea was to collect and measure food discarded from the dining halls in a large bin over a 1-3 hour span. We had previously gathered statistics on a global, and national scale to compare how the University of Nebraska-Lincoln compares. We planned on making informational table tents, which Alanna would have created through InDesign. The tents would have had pictures of the discarded food we collected, as well as statistics about food waste. With approval from the dining halls, we would have displayed them on tables for students to read. However, after encountering countless problems contacting members from other dining halls to aid in this project, we changed directions.
We not only changed how we will be addressing our topic, but we also decided to change our audience to a larger population. We had originally hoped to address the topic on a micro level, by trying to target students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Our fitting response will encompass modifying a wikipedia page, which will target more of a macro level. Our new plan will ultimately be more significant considering wikipedia encounters massive amounts of online traffic daily and we will be addressing large (global) trends that are relevant to a broader population. People searching for information on food waste will have access to our contributions. In addition to providing updated numbers on how much waste certain parts of the world produces, we will furthermore address why a lot of the food we waste does not need to be discarded, as well as alternatives to simply disposing of the food into landfills.  


  1. Update old statistics on the Food Waste page of wikipedia.
  2. Cite controversial statements that weren’t otherwise cited.
  3. Introduce new information to the Food Waste wikipedia page.
  4. Reach a broader audience than just University of Nebraska-Lincoln students/staff.

Rhetorical Canons

Before conducting this project, we considered the five rhetorical canons: Invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. While all of the canons prove useful in the process of the Commons Campaign, “style” in our case had to change drastically when we switched our mode of action.
To  come up with the idea, we used invention to help us narrow down the topics we were interested in researching. The idea of food waste was brought up by Francesca, who is a member of Student Athlete Advisory Committee.  The committee had recently been considering the implementation of  “trayless days” at the Training Table in efforts to reduce the food wasted by students and staff alike. Francesca offered up her committee connections, starting up the idea of reducing food waste at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  
Once we decided on food waste, we continued the process with brainstorming. We discussed ideas of how we were going to address the issue, along with how we were going to present our research. We used arrangement to decide that we were going to create a demonstration of visuals atop tables of the chosen dining halls with facts about food waste for students to see (later to be a wikipedia page). We also used arrangement within wikipedia, as there are categories within the food waste page where we both could correct and refine arrangements previously made before our edits.
Our project will not have the most unique style, however with our time constraints we put in as many hours into editing as possible. Our style ended up changing from presenting table-top information to students at the dining halls, to an online platform where anyone with internet access can see.
To make our project memorable, we decided to make semi-permanent edits to a wikipedia page that people will be able to use whether that be for personal knowledge, for their research or papers (via the view history tab). The memory of semi-permanent edits to the food waste wikipedia page will actually impact someone longer than what a display of information on top of a table would. Although our common’s campaign didn’t go according to plan, some things changed for the better such as its style and memorable aspect that tie together.
To deliver our final project, we are able to provide the link to the food waste wikipedia page. Our delivery can be shared via social media platforms  We took screenshots of the page before and after our modifications. We will post the before pictures only simply because the after version can be found with the link that we will also include in our blog post.

Time Line and Roles

Our original timeline had our work divided out by date and estimated that we would finish the physical part of project (demonstrations) by the first weekend of April. Because we were cut so short on time for the new project, we did not stop to create a new timeline. Instead we decided to both pursue new research, and contribute as much as possible to the new project.
Alanna started her role of contacting the manager of Selleck dining on March 5th, 2016. The manager informed Alanna that another group was doing a similar project already, and could contact her with them to collaborate. Unfortunately, Selleck never responded to requests for collaboration. Alanna then reached out to the manager of Harper dining. Emails transpired between Alanna and the manager of Harper dining hall from March 29th to April 14th. The purpose of reaching out to the managers was to figure out perimeters as well as a time to meet for the originally proposed food waste campaign.
Because Francesca is a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, she had a previously established connection with the managers at the Training Table, a dining hall located at West stadium. In the midst of emailing contacts to begin our food waste campaign, Francesca researched our topic and gathered statistics in order to understand the global scale of food waste beginning on March 25th.
When our plans with the Selleck and Harper dining halls officially fell through, Francesca reached out to Damien via email, and met with him the following day. After looking over other options,  Alanna and Francesca met Damien and officially decided to change our project approach to editing the Food Waste page on Wikipedia (April 11th).
Using Google Drive, Francesca created an excel sheet to log the time both partners invest into the Commons Campaign. She also created a shared Google Doc, so that both partners can contribute to the new project proposal and the portfolio whenever they want. The idea for work delineation was to contribute equally to each portion of the project.
Francesca Giganti and Alanna Johnson
Professor Pfister
COMM 250
28 April, 2016
Commons Campaign Portfolio
The first step of our new plan is to research how to properly edit and contribute to wikipedia pages to ensure any changes we make will benefit the original page. There are specific ways of adding in new information, as well as guidelines on what types of information wikipedia pages provide. It is important for us to remember that wikipedia is an unbiased website that simply showcases collections of data on numerous topics. However, it is not a blog where we can post opinion based statements or suggestions of what a reader should do. Once we are familiar with how to use wikipedia’s website we will use the information and research we have gathered thus far to update old statistics on their Food Waste page. We will also be conducting more research to add new information and findings to this page.
Although this approach is not necessarily unique, the process of editing a wikipedia page is not as simple as one would imagine. Conquering an entire page between two people (with a late start) is not easy. To tackle this project under two weeks, we tended as often as possible to the food waste wikipedia page. Our modifications included checking citations for credibility, adding citations to statements claimed, introducing new material, and updating research that has been done on food waste around the world and specifically in the U.S. With this approach, changing the way our audience views food waste posed to be a constraint simply because we are not allowed to add in any personal opinions, or the opinions of others. After adding in new and more current information, our audience will hopefully pay more attention to being wasteful with food when they realize the severity of the issue and how it is becoming increasingly relevant.
To begin our new approach, we created a wikipedia account that we planned on sharing to make edits with. Our first account had the handle: “FrancescaG&AlannaJ”, and shortly after our first two submissions, we learned it is not prohibited to share accounts. And although we thought we knew how to edit on wikipedia, we were unpleasantly surprised by the removal of both submissions. Thankfully, two experienced editors gave us a list of reasons why our submissions were removed accompanied with a handful of helpful links. Once Alanna created another account, “COMM250” and Francesca renamed her account to “FrancescaGiganti”, we read over the comments, and followed every link to better grasp how contributions were usually made.
We quickly learned in order to make edits on any wikipedia page it is imperative to follow protocol exactly. As we both made “content” edits, which are not considered minor, we had to be extremely conscious of what we were typing. All opinionated and biased statements are to be left out, and only credible, published (non-original) research is allowed to be used in contributions. For obvious copyright reasons, edits cannot be copied and pasted, nor can they be close to word-for-word to what someone else has already published. To practice properly adding in new information we utilized the Sandbox practice page (one of the helpful links) which we previously did not know existed. Sandbox is a step by step tutorial that allows you to try out tools, while giving you advice on how use them.
On our own, we proceeded to gather more information and statistics on various categories within the topic of food waste. This included listening to Ted Talks, and researching articles, statistics, and other information  relevant or relating to food waste. By conducting research on our own, while documenting the links we were finding, it allowed us to find a variety of information on a variety of different aspects of our topic. As soon as we found information that was not already provided on the Food Waste wikipedia page, we would add it in and submit it with a brief description of what we changed.
Francesca contributed to the already existing sections: Animal feed, Landfill and greenhouse gases, (the second) United States, and Retail. Under the section, “Commercial liquid food waste” she added in a sub-header, titled “Agricultural food waste” so that she could include information on the irrigated water that is wasted when people across the world waste harvested produce. Alanna was able to find updated information on Singapore’s current food waste and food recycling, allowing her to add to the “Global Extent” section. She added statistics about food waste in developed countries versus developing countries. She also added new information under the section “Landfills and greenhouse gases” about methane gas produced by landfills. To document the time we each put into the project, we used the a Google Excel sheet. This allowed us to keep track of who was working on which part of the project, and for how long.
As evidence of our intervention, we took screenshots of the page prior to our contributions. There is also a “View History” tab above every page on wikipedia that anyone (with or without a wikipedia account) can access. This page documents every change that has been made to the page, as well as the provided brief description of the change, who made it, data in megabytes was added or removed, why an edit was reverted,  and when the changes were made. Because this view history tab is so easy to use and documented our changes in a way that is easier to compare the before and after of the page, we only included the before screenshots of the Food Waste page. The public can easily access the updated page by typing in “Food Waste” in the search bar on wikipedia’s website, or by clicking the link provided in our Citations page.
Throughout the process of our project there were a number of obstacles that we encountered. After our first project proposal failed miserably, and we learned how efficient and reliable making changes to wikipedia page, or almost any other approach to doing our commons campaign was we would not have chosen to do a demonstration in the first place. It is too difficult to rely on the participation of others, (dining hall staff) when trying to plan out a project with so many points on the line. Our intentions were to do something unique, and with a hopefully significant degree of difficulty, but it simply did not work out.
During our time spent working on our wikipedia page edits, Francesca found a lot of success with listening to Ted Talks. It provided her with new aspects to research other than blatant statistics. It also introduced her to people who were passionate about addressing this issue, so she could look up and utilize the research they had already published. Alanna found inspiration in her environmental ethics class and talked with professor David Henderson about ways people can reduce their impact on the environment. She also found it helpful to watch the documentary Food Inc. that touches on food waste in the agriculture industry in America. After proofreading and fact checking the food waste wikipedia page, Alanna found success in updating outdated information and added new and relevant information.  


Links used for research:

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