Penn State Campus Pantries Provide Nutrition and Community for Students
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Through the University, Penn State offers various resources to help students with food and housing insecurity, financial problems and basic needs. Among these efforts, the Penn State Campus Pantries help support students and alleviate daily stressors such as determining what food to put on the table.
In particular, theLion’s pantryat University Park is currently undergoing a two-phase renovation including additions to expand its services and provide fresh, chilled and frozen foods. Tthe pantry has reopened its space on the Route des Services this semester for in-person purchases after temporarily closing for the first phase of renovations and portion students outside of Market East, located at Findlay Commons.
However, Penn State’s pantries aren’t just going through physical changes. By developing new solutions such as online ordering and expanding their support networks, Campus pantry improve their operations for the present and the future students.
“Food and housing insecurity has been a hidden problem among college students across the country, and the anybody next to you may be in trouble without you knowing it“ says Tim Balliett, director of the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose. “Provide food to those in need can make a very tangible and noticeable difference in their life and in their success as a students. This could be the difference between whether this person is having a meal that is daytime or not.“
Growth at Lion’s Pantry
Emily Griffin, fourth year student majoring in Community, Environment and Development and President of University Park Lion‘s Pantry, explained that the students working with the Lion‘s Pantry is excited about the organization‘the future.
“We trust students and know that it can be difficult to come forward and ask for help, ”Griffin said. “A lot of people are busy with jobs, classes or families. We always wanted people feel safe when they visit.
TO providing the highest level of service and food to students, work will continue this fall and spring to prepare the space to host refrigeration and freezers. A second phase of renovations, in which the pantry will close again temporarily, will take place next summer to make several cosmetic and functional upgrades. Plans for pantry operations for summer 2022 are to come.
Innovation in the campus pantries
Online ordering was particularly popular since start of pandemic, like numerous the pantries of the university remained open continue to serve students in need. Pantry coordinators said ordering online has made the process more convenient and discreet for consumers. students, volunteers and advisersers.
TheWE CARE Pantryat Penn State Harrisburg, which relies on both employee and student volunteers, kept its online ordering system even as the University reverted to an in-person experience for fall 2021.
Rob Coffman, Director of Eregistration Madministratort, and Andrea Mull, registered nurse, health educator and Deputy Director of Student Health Services, explained that the Harrisburg Campus’ WE care The online system includes various options to optimize the way they pack their orders, such as the date and time of pickup, the weight of the bags and the distance the individual has to walk.
“You just don’t‘t know what someone else is up to, and you should always treat others with kindness,“ noted Ashley Schools, financial coordinator at Penn State Harrisburg, who manages the campus pantry alongside Coffman and Mull. “Iit’s to be as welcoming and inviting as possible, and we train our student volunteers to be both sensitive to the topic and to understand how appropriately react in certain situations.“
Some pantries, like thePenn State Behrend Lion‘Pantry, were contactless from the start using online ordering systems and offering various pickup points for “Ready to go“ necessities. Notably, Behrend‘s Lion‘s Pantry offers toiletries such as period and dental care some products.
As a contactless pantry, Behrend students can pick up their order in the Smith Chapel. In addition, the Lion of Behrend‘s Pantry is available on the Penn State Go app, which leads directly to their online order form.
“At the end of the day, more people have to talk about food insecurity and trivialize it,” said Hannah Moran, old civic and community engagement coordinator at Penn State Behrend, who helpsed manage the campus pantry. “We to bring emergency bags in some places around campus for studentss to catch, as part of our efforts get the message out there. “
What the future holds
Leslie Pillen, Associate Director of Agriculture and Food Systems in the Institute of sustainability, expressed that future, new storage such as refrigerators in the pantry of the Lion University Park will improve partnerships between the pantry andStudent farm, which she both advises.
“In the past, students struggled with produce because fresh food cannot and look after hours without a refrigerator,“ Pillen said. “By getting around this, they were able to bring in more stable items like potatoes, onions, and apples to distribute over time. With the renovation and subsequent discussions on feasible crops, I look forward to the student farm supplying fresh produce according to the needs and wants of the students.“
Additionally, student leaders aim to use the Penn State Eats app in the future to connect with students and offer a permanent online ordering system, similar to popular food apps such as GrubHub or Uber Eats.
“When you log into the app, you will see the Lion’s Pantry as a purchase option, which will help you keep it in mind,“ Griffin said. “I also think the task force and other campus resources like libraries, dieticians and others, help bring it all together to make impactful changes.“
Ultimately, Pillen shared that these efforts weren’t just about putting food on the table., but also change understanding of individuals what it means to be a student and the role adequate nutrition play in school success.
“Food insecurity for a student is a stereotype that‘is almost considered a ‘Rite of passage‘ by having both insufficient quantity and quality of food,” Pillen said. “This is not true. Everyone deserves good nutrition for a healthy life, regardless of their circumstances. We need to look at food insecurity on an individual and national level To approach the problem while keeping the main subject.“
All Penn State campuses have on-campus or community pantries. For students who are food insecure or unsure of their needs, the University offers a range of advice, support and resources.
How can I help you?
Campus pantries across the Commonwealth benefit from community assistance through donations and volunteering. To make cash donations, visit University development site.