Fels is pleased to announce that Fatima Sanz (MPA ‘18) and Brian Ong (MPA ‘18) have been selected to compete in the final round of the Penn Public Policy Challenge.
The Penn Public Policy Challenge is a real-world team competition where students passionate about public policy and entrepreneurship come together to develop innovative ideas to improve the city of Philadelphia. Each team is asked to define a specific problem in Philadelphia, identify key stakeholders, and develop policy proposals and integrated campaign plans designed to achieve significant positive change in their community.
Solutions can come in the form of a social enterprise, nonprofit, or program initiatives. Throughout the process, students participate in workshops to define their chosen problem, draft effective executive summaries, and prepare pitches. On February 8th, the Fels Institute of Government hosted the semi-final round, where each team pitched their idea to two panels of judges. Students were judged on the clarity of their problem’s definition, and if their proposal was well-researched, feasible, and impactful.
Fatima and Brian’s project, called “PHEAST - Philly. Eats. Accessible. Sustainable. Transparent,” is a food truck designed to address food access in Philadelphia, while also combating food waste and food insecurity. They believe that all Philadelphians should have access to nutritious, affordable meals, regardless of income or neighborhood. PHEAST’s plan is to use a two-tiered pricing model to serve different market segments: those in Center City and those in food desert areas. PHEAST would purchase “ugly” produce and food that supermarkets would throw away, despite being perfectly fine for consumption. This would address the food waste issue and also keep food costs low. Ultimately, the team’s goal is to build a fleet of food trucks to serve people in food deserts not just in Philadelphia, but in different parts of the state and eventually in other parts of the nation.
Brian, who grew up working in the restaurant industry, states “this project gave me the opportunity to combine my upbringing with my desire to influence public policy. I also grew up believing that good food should not go to waste, especially with the amount of hungry people in the world.”
According to Fatima, “my interest in food policy and food waste management began when I lived in Africa. There, I witnessed first hand dire poverty and some serious lack of food access. This taught me to appreciate the food on the table a lot more and definitely made me think more than twice before throwing away any food.”