SAUP aims to raise awareness and empower students by educating students on different topics on a weekly schedule. Week 5 was stewardship week. As we progressed through the week and I learned about how conscious or unconscious I was of stewarding my time, resources, finances and many other things, I quickly realized that I had much to improve on and that my idea of stewardship as a whole was inaccurate.
We began the process by taking several surveys on how conscious we were of our water, energy, earth, and slave labor usage in our daily life. For me, this raised a lot of awareness as to how inconsiderate I had been every day. I took the surveys and realized that I had indirectly been supporting many brands that had been using slave labor. We watched a documentary titled “True Cost” which told the story of cheap labor across the world in different nations and the problems and injustices that come with it. As we learned more about this, we were also taught different ways to combat this problem such as buying free trade clothing and doing research to raise individual awareness on what brands are better as well as being encouraged to donate clothes that we hardly wear or need.
As we learned more, I began to realize that stewarding did not just mean spending less money and being more frugal or less selfish - in some ways it actually meant the exact opposite. I began to see ways in which I could actively choose to steward, such as: choosing to intentionally go to farmers markets maybe once or twice a week and support local farmers. This choice may be more expensive but it is more environmentally conscious as opposed to supporting big companies who might have the lowest prices but don't care as much about the environment. I also learned that eating beef consistently and regularly does a ridiculous amount of damage to the earth and how simply cutting my beef consumption to a couple days in a week instead of 4 or 5 times a week affects the earth a considerable amount.
All throughout stewardship week we were loaded with information and given ideas on how to battle these problems and the week closed off with us being given a packet of commitments that we had the option of making. These commitments ranged anywhere from choosing to devote time to research and learn more about human trafficking all the way to choosing to enter into a job field that works to stop human trafficking. Throughout stewardship week we were given knowledge, equipped with practical actions to take, and encouraged to make commitments to actually following up with these actions. During stewardship week, I truly realized that SAUP was more than a program of learning it was also a program of doing.
Culinary Institute of the Americas, San Antonio