Hello everyone, and welcome back to our VISTA Spotlight Series! Every month, we shine a light on one of our dedicated AmeriCorps VISTA Members, showcasing the incredible work they contribute. At the core of our program, it’s the combined efforts of our members and their host sites that make it truly special.

This month’s spotlight is Calvin Rausch, who serves as our NC Hunger Corps VISTA at Duke University.  Calvin began service this summer and has been making great strides in securing food access programs for students at Duke University.

While attending college at the University of Georgia, Calvin established the first fresh food pantry at UGA and found passion in developing food security programs.  After earning a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, a bachelor’s in Political Science and a certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Calvin knew she wanted to continue her work fighting food insecurity. 

Calvin serves developing DukeReach and the Graduate Professional Student Services Offices which provide comprehensive support to students through mental, physical, academic, and financial challenges.

As a Hunger Corps VISTA at Duke University Calvin facilitates many programs to ensure student support services pertaining to food security are accessible to as many students as possible.  She manages the Feed Every Devil portal which provides additional meal swipes to students in need, as well as the Student Emergency Funding which offers financial assistance to students facing financial emergencies.  Calvin serves as the advisor to the GPSG Community Food Pantry on campus. 

Calvin established the Blue Devil Market which brings fresh produce to Duke Students for free from local vendors. Through this market they were able to serve 550 individuals and are actively planning the next market to again bring more access to fresh produce to Duke students. Calvin serves as the advisor to the GPSG Food Pantry, and it has been at the GPSG Community Food Pantry where she feels her impact has been the largest as they overcame obstacles in the new school year. The pantry worked to introduce data collection and analysis, refine the inventory process, partner with Duke Dining to bring vendors into the space, and support the Graduate/Professional students who volunteer their time to make the pantry a reliable resource for students. It’s been an incredible learning opportunity and a great example of the importance of persistence and intentional management.

Calvin is also working to launch a survey to over 10,000 graduate and professional students which would be the first since 2019 regarding food security and access on campus.  To continue her outreach efforts she s hosting a webinar discussing food security for campus faculty, staff and students across the state of North Carolina. These capacity building efforts will allow future VISTAs and student leaders to have a broader scope of what food security looks like at Duke University and will allow them to move forward in making changes that will be the most impactful to the campus community. 

As Calvin is about halfway through her service term as a VISTA she hopes to continue her tenure at Duke University and pursue a Master’s in Public Policy! She is looking forward to a career path in nonprofit or local government leadership to ensure that all individuals have equitable access to the resources they need to succeed.


Check out this TED Talk featuring Calvin!

This spotlight blog was written with the support and information from Calvin by Madeline DeLorenzo.