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Nutrition Bar Program Sees Progress on Campus

Student helps Two Degrees take off at ESF, SU

ESF senior Kevin Phu began his work with Two Degrees last semester and since then, the program's presence in Syracuse has grown. Two Degrees operates using the "one-for-one" model, in which a nutrition pack is donated to a needy child in a developing country for every bar purchased, Phu said.

Phu, a senior chemistry major, is the ESF/SU campus director for the company.

According to the Two Degrees website, the company, which has representatives at more than 75 colleges, has donated 344,000 nutritional packs to children in Malawi, Kenya, Somalia, India and Haiti.

Last semester the nutrition bars were sold only at People's Place in Hendrick's Chapel, Phu said. The program has expanded and the bars are now being sold at Recess Coffee House near Westcott Street and Cafe Kubal's two locations on James Street and South Salina Street.

Phu said he is also trying to have the bars sold at Funk 'n Waffles Cafe and Strong Hearts Cafe.

Pending the approval of SU's purchasing committee and nutritionist, Phu said, the bars could be sold in SU dining halls. Eventually, Phu said he hopes to have the bars available for purchase at the cafe in the ESF Gateway building.

Along with success in gaining more retailers, Phu said ESF/SU Two Degrees presented at an SU UNICEF fundraising event and held a fundraiser for Valid Nutrition, the company that manufactures the nutrition packs.

Two Degrees also introduced a new flavor this semester in addition to the existing flavors: cherry almond, chocolate peanut butter and apple pecan, said Phu. The new flavor, chocolate banana, is made from a nut-free formula.

This semester, Phu said he plans to hold more events on the ESF campus, including a presentation at Earth Week and possibly start a club to promote Two Degrees. He also said he hopes to hold a "day of action" to raise awareness of the fact that every six minutes a child dies of malnutrition in the Horn of Africa. During this day, Phu said he aims to encourage people who normally wouldn't buy a bar to try it out and drive up sales for that day.

"The nutrition packs given in bulk would theoretically prevent children from dying for one day," he said.

On a corporate level, Two Degrees has seen higher demand and hired new full time staff members, said Phu. The founders of the company recently visited one of the giving sites in Kibera, Kenya, where the nutrition packs provide vital resources to the community said Phu.

"This form of giving is more reliable and sustainable than traditional forms of aid," he said. "It's more difficult to give a donation than just going to a store and buying a nutrition bar that you can eat."

By Jessica Lynn Siart ES '11