UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 26, 2023

Spend holidays with a host family with the Adopt a Student program

Faculty and staff members at Utah Tech can “adopt a student” and feed them for the upcoming holidays if they can’t go home. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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Not able to go home for the holidays? There’s no need to worry; just take a look into the “Adopt a Student” program.

Some students aren’t able to travel home over the holidays because of extenuating circumstances. The Food Disparities Committee saw this as a problem and wanted to give students a chance to have a warm meal with a local family over the winter break. 

The committee is sponsoring an “Adopt a Student” program that gives host families the chance to reach out to a student and invite them to their home for a holiday meal. They are offering this service for Thanksgiving and winter break for students that can’t make it to their own families. 

Ali Threet, assistant vice president and dean of students, said: “Faculty and staff can sign up to host one or more students at their home during the holidays. Since this is the first year of the program, we don’t know what to expect and will place students on a first come, first serve basis.”

This is the first semester the program will be offered to students. The committee had the idea that they wanted to match students with families who have extra room at their table and could take in an extra student that didn’t have anywhere to go. Anyone from the community with the availability to take in a student can volunteer for the program and be given a student they can reach out to. 

“We have about 20 spots for students to go to right now; I am not sure how many students have signed up,” said Heather Osness, program director of surgical technology. 

Osness is a member of the Food Disparities Committee and the one to bring the idea to the table. 

“I typically feed 30 to 40 people for Thanksgiving, so I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to add a few more to the table, and I thought others would also be willing to do the same thing,” Osness said. 

After checking with the General Counsel, the committee decided to give it a go and see if there was a need for the program. 

To save a spot in the program, students need to fill out a form asking when they will need to be hosted and if they have transportation for the meal. The deadline to fill out this form is Nov. 18.

If students aren’t able to join the program, there are dining vouchers for off-campus restaurants available for students to purchase. Dining services will be closed Nov. 23-27 for the holiday break. The vouchers are for local dining options such as Chick-Fil-A, Honolulu Grill and Denny’s. The vouchers are located at the information window on the first floor of the Gardner Student Center. They are available for purchase Nov. 14-22.

The university’s General Counsel released its official statement on the university’s participation with the program: “Please note that this is not a University-sponsored program. Participation by hosts and attendees is voluntary. Utah Tech University acts only as a liaison and is not responsible for the acts of the participating parties.”

The Food Disparities Committee will be facilitating the matching up of hosts and students.