McGovern Hunger Summit

McGovern Hunger Summit


The McGovern Center at Dakota Wesleyan University will host the McGovern Hunger Summit on Nov. 12, 2015, in the Sherman Center on campus. This event is free and open to all, but please register here for a headcount.


Due to the success of the spring Hunger Summit in April, the McGovern Center is proud to announce that Dakota Wesleyan University will be hosting a second Hunger Summit in November. The summit functions not only as an inspiration and educational tool for advocates of hunger security, but it also functions as a meeting place for people to gather, share resources, evaluate real problems, and brainstorm meaningful solutions. This year there is a heightened focus on sustainable solutions to combat hunger, the development of help from universities and students, and also the investment into natural resources that are becoming scarce.

Summit Schedule:

9-9:30 a.m.: Registration

9:30-10:25 a.m.: Speaker: Bob Reiners, South Dakota Apiarist (bee keeper/inspector)

                             “The Importance of Bees in the 21st Century”

10:30-10:55 a.m.: Dialogue led by South Dakota State University

11-11:55 a.m.: Speaker: Matt Gassen, executive director of Feeding South Dakota

Noon-12:25 p.m.: Dialogue led by Dakota Wesleyan students from the Universities Fighting World Hunger-Third Freedom chapter

12:30-1:30 p.m.: Empty Bowls Luncheon & Hunger Ambassador Award Ceremony

Once again, students from Mitchell High School’s art class will provide beautiful, handmade  pottery bowls for the Empty Bowls Luncheon. A suggested donation of $10 for the meal and a bowl, and once all meals are sold, the extra bowls will also be for sale. At noon, those who wish to just purchase lunch and not attend the 12:30 event may stop in and pick up their Empty Bowl luncheon to-go. All proceeds benefit the food pantry in Mitchell.


1:30-1:45 p.m.: Concluding Remarks



Matt Gassen, executive director of Feeding South Dakota


Matt Gassen has served as the executive director of Feeding South Dakota since 1999. With the hard work of a dedicated staff, they distribute more than 12 million pounds of food annually to 250 member agencies and reach tens of thousands of South Dakotans in need of food assistance. In 2004, he successfully coordinated the merger of South Dakota’s two affiliate food banks in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, creating a single, statewide organization. In May of 2010, he facilitated the addition of a third food bank location in Pierre to meet the hunger needs in central South Dakota, while at the same time overseeing a highly successful organizational rebranding process. 


Prior to becoming a food bank director, Gassen spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force. During this time, he spent 15 years in aircraft maintenance and culminated his career as a First Sergeant, providing discipline, direction and support to hundreds enlisted personnel.


He currently serves as a board member for South Dakota’s Partners Against Hunger, Destiny Family Medical Clinic and his church Sioux Falls First. He is also a member of the Downtown Rotary in Sioux Falls. Matt has been married to his wife Charlene for 42 years and they have three grown sons and 10 grandchildren.



Bob Reiners, South Dakota Apiarist (bee-keeper/inspector)


Bob Reiners is an agriculture program specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.  At the Department of Agriculture, Reiners serves as the State Apiarist where he oversees the apiary registration and inspection program.  He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and has worked with the department since 1984. Since Reiners enjoys working with his own bees, he shares that passion with other beekeepers. His other hobbies include gardening, woodworking, auto mechanics and bicycling. He and his wife Collette have two children.





Partners for the event include:

DWU McGovern Center

SDSU Community Nutrition program





McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award

The Hunger Summit planning committee recognizes one individual each year for his or her outstanding role in ending hunger in South Dakota. Nominees for the McGovern Hunger Ambassador should be community leaders whom have exemplified dedication to serving the populations within their communities whom are food insecure. This award was created to honor the late Senator George McGovern who was driven to solve hunger both domestically and internationally.


Nominations for the award were taken up to Oct. 29, 2015, and the winner will be announced during the summit.


The 2014 winner was John Lushbough of Vermillion, South Dakota.

Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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