Hands in the clay and wheels constantly turning, ceramics students and potters often pull more bowls out of the fire than they know what to do with. That’s where the newly-recognized organization “Encompass Humanity” steps in.
Founded by senior Alex Cassidy, Encompass Humanity collects and sells handcrafted pots, bowls, vases and candleholders. It then donates 100 percent of its proceeds to the charity Kids Against Hunger.
Kids Against Hunger is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides nutritional meals to impoverished children and families around the globe.
“Deciding to donate to Kids Against Hunger felt like the right place for us,” Cassidy said. “Their mission coincides with ours and they put their donations to good use.”
Cassidy, who began creating, or “throwing” pottery in high school, said she was inspired by other organizations that also sold ceramics for charity. So, after arriving at Augustana, she decided to start her own organization.
“The first step for Encompass Humanity was collecting pottery,” Cassidy, who is currently interning in New York, wrote in an email. “We started at a high school, who donated many pieces. After that, we moved onto our own campus to ask for donations. We would go into the the ceramics studios in coordination with Gerry Punt and explain to the students who we are and what we do.”
Most of the organization’s pottery comes from Augustana students, although anyone from the community can donate. Likewise, most of the organization’s sales come from within campus as well.
“My favorite part is the fact that our pottery is from super talented ceramic students who don’t want them anymore,” co-president Grace Worden said. “When we sell them, people just love how beautiful they are. [I] guess it’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Pass by the commons around a holiday or during a busy time, and students might find their table filled with a variety of glazed pieces for sale. From a textured dish with a mixture of earthy reds and browns, to a bowl with a rippled ridge speckled with cobalt blue, to an earthy, flower-stamped vase, each piece is uniquely crafted and typically priced between $5 and $10. Each $5 spent provides 20 bowls of food for Kids Against Hunger.
Cassidy said one of her favorite aspects of running Encompass Humanity is being able to talk to students about the global food crisis which impacts more than 800 million people globally. In the United States alone, 15.3 million children under 18 live without consistent access to nutritious food.
So far, the organization has raised over 1,200 meals and hopes to double that in the coming year.
Raquel Curriel, co-president alongside Worden, said the organization plans to host events where members can try their hands at ceramics, pack food in the Kids Against Hunger office and plant succulents or flowers inside some of the pottery for sale.
“We are having a meeting after spring break to tell people who we are, what we are doing, and if they have ideas they want to do,” Curriel said. “It’s all centered around pottery and giving back.”
Worden said she joined Encompass Humanity because of its ability to make an impact beyond campus.
“Encompass Humanity is important because it goes beyond just our campus,” Worden said. “Many of us have been fortunate enough to know where our next meal comes from, but that is not the case for everyone.”