LAFAYETTE, La. – The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will celebrate a ribbon cutting and grand opening for its on-campus pantry that aims to enhance food security among students and also provide hygiene products.
The Campus Cupboard is a resource for undergraduate and graduate students who require short-term assistance meeting their food and hygiene needs. It is in UL Lafayette’s Intensive English Program building, 413 Brook Ave.
Campus Cupboard is “designed to help tide students over when they are having problems paying for food,” said Dr. Pearson Cross, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He chairs the committee that began planning the pantry in late 2017.
The panel includes representatives from the Student Government Association, Graduate School, the Division of Student Affairs, the Community Service and Sustainability offices, and other administrative units and academic departments.
The Cupboard’s community partners are Second Harvest Food Bank, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sodexo and United Way of Acadiana.
Pantry patrons will be asked to present student IDs.
“Campus Cupboard is not designed to feed someone who has no other food source. In the case of chronic need, we hope to refer students to other providers,” such as Second Harvest or Foodnet, Cross said.
More than 500 universities and colleges in the United States offer food assistance to students, said Chandler Harris, president of the UL Lafayette’s Student Government Association.
In Louisiana, LSU, Delgado Community College, and Louisiana Tech, Southeastern Louisiana and Northwestern State universities have food pantries.
“Hunger exists on many college campuses, though you can’t always see it. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with food insecurity, and that’s unfair,” Harris said.
“The Campus Cupboard is a statement. The University community is saying it wants to help.”
National studies indicate students who face food insecurity are more likely to skip, fall behind in or drop courses, said Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the University’s Graduate School.
“Food insecurity among undergraduates and graduate students hurts their academic performances. It’s difficult to focus on classwork, complete assignments, or write a thesis or dissertation if you are hungry,” Farmer-Kaiser said.
“The Campus Cupboard is combatting hunger, but it’s also providing an essential tool for student success. No one should have to defer the pursuit of a degree because of hunger.”
For information on the Campus Cupboard, or to donate, email Pearson Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sally Donlon, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, at email@example.com.