The Pennsylvania Department of Education has named Shippensburg University a PA Hunger-Free Campus. To advance student food security efforts across the state, the Pennsylvania Office of the First Lady and the Department of Education (PDE) launch the PA Hunger-Free Campus initiative. The initiative features a coalition of colleges and universities focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students.
An estimated one-third of post secondary students are at risk of hunger. Colleges and universities across the country are taking steps to address these issues so students can focus on their education instead of where to find their next meal.
In recent years, Shippensburg University has launched several programs aimed at supporting food insecure students. Big Red’s Cupboard is a food pantry where students have access to food and hygiene items. The process is simple and private and there is not limit on how often students can visit. Cupboard staff is currently working on a process to identify students who use the cupboard frequently with the goal of providing them with other long-term external resources. The cupboard is stocked through donations and supported by a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA position.
The SU Campus Farm grows fresh produce that is free to all students, faculty and staff. The farm is run by faculty and student volunteers who work closely with the Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition (SCRC) to put together a monthly food calendar that is shared both on and off campus. The meals are provided by local churches and organizations and are open to students.
The Office of Alumni Relations provides food kits to any students who stay on campus over the Thanksgiving and winter breaks so students have access to quality food supplies when the dining facilities have limited hours.
Aramark, the university’s contracted dining services partner, allows students to donate their meals swipes that may not be used so other students who may not have a meal plan or have run out of funds for the semester are able to find healthy meals.
Finally, the Shippensburg University Foundation has a student emergency fund that assists undergraduate students who have immediate financial needs that directly affect their ability to continue their education at Ship. The fund is designed to as a supplemental financial resource when students are unable to meet immediate and essential expenses.
“Food insecurity is an increasing problem on college campuses and one that we cannot ignore. By prioritizing and expanding these programs our students can remain focused on their academic success. We’re thankful to everyone who supports this effort and has contributed to it,” said Emily Javitt, associate director of campus life.
The university has also formed a task for to review current programs and assess the changing needs of students and potential new programing.
A wish list of items for Big Red’s Cupboard can be found here.