FAFS established a new initiative to encourage undergraduate interdisciplinary collaborations through workshops, mentorships from faculty members, and training for project proposal pitching. The first workshop was led by Climate Committee members: Professor Salma Talhouk (committee chair), Professor Youssef Abou Jaweh (Agriculture), Dr. Ali Chalak (Agribusiness), Dr. Omar Obeid (Nutrition), Dr. Beata Dreksler (Landscape Architecture) and Dr. Mohammad Abiad (Food Science & Management). The committee presented a project concept for transforming food intake into a “currency” representing each person’s daily allowed caloric consumption based on caloric needs and total balance, as deduced with each meal consumed. A multidisciplinary team of undergraduate students were asked to develop the concept into a prototype and explore its feasibility and market value within the AUB community
FAFS undergraduates Samar Morkos (Agriculture), Hiba Salameh (Agribusiness), Patricia Naufal (Food Science and Management), Fida Fneish (Nutrition and Dietetics) and Sara Abbas (Landscape Architecture) formed the multidisciplinary team and presented their version of the concept. The students proposed 'Jarak' an Arabic word-play meaning "your jar" & "your neighbor" and offered an environmentally sustainable, health-directed, practical experience of the ‘nutri-coin’ initiative found in food kiosks that prepare meals or combos in jars.
“Jarak” is intended to encourage local producers and markets, as well as athletes and persons practicing different dietary regimens. A mobile application will be developed to calculate, generate, and regulate the ‘nutri-coin’ balance. People visiting the ‘Jarak’ food kiosk can enjoy a healthy meal, either by ordering food and re-balancing their ‘nutri-coin’ total with the app by an ID provided at the kiosk, or they can use a screen at the kiosk. The app is accessed online anywhere. Dean Rabi Mohtar, Associate Dean Ammar Olabi, Chairpersons Imad Toufaily and Isam Bashour, and committee members attended the presentation of ‘Jarak’, taking the opportunity to congratulate the students on their great initiative and inviting the students to further develop the concept and submit a proposal.