Food Security Case Competition Winners

Meet the two winners of the UNA-USA Food Security Case Competition. Read more about the competition prompt here and the team proposals below.

College Level Winner – UNA Harvard University Team

The Harvard Chapter of UNA-USA focused on Monocultures and Environmental Degradation in Indonesia. After extensive primary and secondary research, we found that a large contributor to environmental degradation was the monoculture, palm oil. Despite lifting thousands out of poverty, the innocuous plant also caused extreme damage to the land and health of rural smallholders/farmers. Our thesis is that suppliers need to take multilateral action for sustainable sourcing, consult communities that are impacted, and consider the intersectional relationships of hunger via the SDGs. We were able to connect our project not only to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) but also to SDG 15 (Life on Land) and 13: Climate Action, indicating an intersectional approach that includes the most marginalized.

Team members included: 

Desiree Rickett is a rising sophomore planning to major in either Economics or Statistics. She is currently serving as one of Harvard UNA-USA’s community service chairs, and she is so excited to volunteer with the organization. She joined the chapter in order to test the boundaries on what kind of impact she and others can have on the current issues facing the world. 


Angela Zhong is a rising sophomore studying Economics with a citation in Mandarin. She’s the 2021 Harvard UNA-USA Secretary, and the Northeast Campus Fellow. She joined UNA-USA since she believes the chapter — as students and Americans — has an outsized impact on the rest of the world. Angela is incredibly grateful for the platform that the case competition has provided.


Sheccid Ontiveros-Santillan is a rising junior in Adams House studying History & Science with a secondary in Global Health and Public Policy. She is so excited to be the co-service chair for Harvard UNA! She thinks that one of the most meaningful acts a club can do is help the local community, which is why Sheccid hopes to connect UNA-USA with organizations in the Greater Boston area.




High School Level Winner – Organized by UNA Southwest Connecticut 

Our SDG #2: Zero Hunger case competition presentation is a social media marketing proposal, with a focus on cultural integration of nutritious eating habits, to help solve the Philippines’ problem with malnutrition. In the South Asia region, the Philippines is unique in that it has both surplus land that experiences a year-round growing season and a middle-income level. This means that access to nutritious foods and fresh produce is comparatively a less severe issue and there is a wide range of nutritional problems that exist—poorer families still struggle with access to food, while wealthier families often gravitate toward heavily-advertised processed foods, and different age groups face different health consequences of malnutrition. Altering individual consumption choices and market linkage with farmers has the potential to ameliorate the upward-facing trends of overweight and obesity in the Filipino population, especially when targeted at Gen Z and millennials. Seeing that cultural shifts toward more nutritious eating and improved agriculture have succeeded in the past, like the “Three Sisters” (corns, beans, and squash) of the Iroquois League and the “Make Farming Sexy Again” campaign that spread throughout several Africa countries and parts of the Philippines, we decided to build a cultural integration-focused approach that would resonate with and excite people to consume in a more nutritious manner.

Our proposal consists of several informative, accessible, and engaging posters that target different groups of Filipinos: young children, teenagers, working parents, and farmers. These posters all encourage nutritious practices in different ways, from providing convenient healthy recipes to outlining the benefits of fruits easily found in the Philippines. Supplementing these posters are cultural mnemonics, like primary school nursery rhymes to teach young children, short animations, and in-depth farming tutorials to aid in improving agricultural quality, productivity, and profitability. These resources would be circulated primarily on Facebook and Youtube, the top social media platforms in the Philippines. The proposal also includes a preliminary network of governmental and non-governmental organizations to collaborate with to spread nutrition-related information via their social media pages, which would help the campaign build credibility while helping the organizations improve their communities. With the different pages of these organizations, the resources in the campaign would undergo A/B testing and consequent iterative adjustments to make nutrition as accessible, fun, and digestible as possible.

Team members included: 

Emily Jin is a rising freshman and a prospective business major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a Hunter College High School graduate. Raised in New York City, Emily finds inspiration in the many diverse pockets of the city and is passionate about building solidarity in her communities. She loves learning languages and exploring different cultures, and hopes to use her cultural awareness to better help and communicate with others. She is also interested in sustainability, consumer culture, and health + fitness. In her free time, Emily enjoys jewelry design, running, playing volleyball, and singing.

Angel Tang attends the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at the City College of New York (class of 2023) and is currently a Sophomore (grade 10). She constantly looks to improve herself and expand her skill sets in a multitude of different fields. Angel is enthusiastic about involving herself in her community and is actively searching for ways to better human society.

Sydney Xie attends Milton High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a rising junior and is very honored to be part of this experience.

Kevin Gu is a Junior at Livingston High School in New Jersey. Prior to immigrating to the United States, he received education in Shanghai, China. The exposure to diverse social environments resulted in his elevated sense of cultural consciousness. He is interested in pursuing post-secondary education to become ambidextrous in science and business while being engaged in opportunities supporting the community.

Nick Zhang is currently a junior at Kirby School in Santa Cruz, California. He has always cared about the lives of socioeconomically disadvantaged people and is thus interested in multiple disciplines of social sciences, such as sociology and anthropology, to better understand the unequal world we live in. Besides that, Nick also studies poetry, Chinese calligraphy and music theory as his hobby, since he believes arts can contribute to humanity greatly.

Joline Sun is a 15 year old student in Houston, Texas. She attends The Kinkaid School and is going to be a sophomore next semester.