Food Systems Working Group

The mission of the Food Systems Working Group is to work collaboratively with the campus community toward increasing socially and environmentally responsible practices.

This is achieved through production, research, education, and engagement in our food system, by developing official sustainable food procurement standards, as well as a multi-year action plan for implementation of the standards.

The "Food at Oxy" Resource Guide 2021Logo for Oxy Food

The Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) is a collaborative effort to leverage the interdisciplinary knowledge and resources of various groups on campus dedicated to promoting good food, whether by preparing some of the best college food in the nation, promoting equitable food policy and programs, or educating the students of Oxy, who are the future producers and consumers of our nation. Dedicated to working collaboratively with the campus community toward increasing socially and environmentally responsible practices in our campus food system, the FSWG’s primary duty is to employ the resources of Campus Dining, the Food Studies Minor faculty, UEPI, and students in order to oversee, update, and execute the Occidental Food Resource Guide and its goals.

The full Food Systems Working Group meets twice per semester to discuss ongoing projects, share ideas, and make decisions by consensus. This group consists of students, faculty, and staff, including dining administrators and food service employees. This diverse group brings a wide array of perspectives and experience to campus-wide food issues. Meetings are open to any member of the Oxy Community. If interested in attending, email Isabelle Russell at

Prior to each FSWG meeting, the student co-chair gathers agenda items from all attendees and with the support of a Core Team, sets the agenda. The student co-chair will act as facilitator for the meeting, and leave time at the end of each meeting to discuss topics not included on the agenda. There is also an advisory board and ad-hoc subcommittees will be created to complete tasks as necessary. The following list of members is not comprehensive as the general assembly varies greatly each meeting.

As of the Fall 2021 semester, a digital Food and Sustainability Newsletter has been published monthly with updates from each member of the FSWG as well as other general information about the state of sustainability at Oxy. Recent publications include an interview with Executive Chef Martin Fernandez and a crash course of food justice in Los Angeles. Check out the September issue here and the October issue here. 

Core Team:

Sharon Cech - FSWG Co-Chair, Regional Food Systems Director, UEPI
Erik Russell - FSWG Co-Chair, Assistant Vice President for Hospitality Services 
Isabelle Russell - FSWG Co-Chair and Sustainability Liaison Student Intern
Isa Merel - Campus Dining Lead Intern for Sustainability Research and Implementation

Staff & Faculty Advisory Team:

Conrado Gomez - Campus Dining Chef de Cuisine
Martin Fernandez - Campus Dining Executive Chef
Robert Starec - Associate Director of Campus Dining
Andrew Jalil - Associate Professor of Economics
Bevin Ashenmiller - Professor of Economics / Interim Sustainability Coordinator
John Lang - Associate Professor of Sociology / Department Chair of Food Studies Minor
Elizabeth Braxton - Residential Education and Housing Services
Colm McFeely - Women’s Soccer Coach

General Assembly: 

Lena Sullivan - EFRT Program Coordinator
Hannah Plummer - Campus Dining RFC Data Intern
Grace Luu- Campus Dining Marketing Intern
Erin Croom - Green Bean Sustainability Manager
Izzy Wang- Sunrise OXY 
Emma Silber- RESF Representative
Food Justice House Residential Advisor
FEAST Representatives
Occidental Student Compost Actions for Remediation (OSCAR)