It is safe to say because of the increasing raise of inflation, college students are paying more for college tuition and food compared to previous years.
This issue has caused many students at Utah Tech University to go hungry. Skipping meals seems to be the new normal with having to pay rent, tuition and the list goes on.
Utah Tech University has a program that allows students to have access to food from a food pantry with no questions asked. The food pantry is in partnership with the Utah Food bank allowing students access to canned goods, packaged items, fruits, meats and hygiene products.
The food pantry has recently been relocated to the Browning Learning and Resource Center in room 103. The new location has been open since finals week of last semester. The increase in students using the food pantry has been favorable for the new location.
This new location is a popular place for students – especially freshmen. Students new and returning may not know about the food pantry or are looking for one.
The food pantry is located in the same area as the Center of Inclusion and Belonging. The room itself hosts different activities throughout the semester along with many services for students to use.
Having the food pantry in the Browning will help students feel more comfortable getting the food in a place that is already welcoming and familiar.
Ali Threet, assistant vide president and dean of students, said, “We have found that all of our students at times need help with food or housing or basic needs.”
Food pantry employees are working on making an online signup sheet to make ordering food in advance more efficient in the future. Foods like meat and fruits are harder to have for on-site visits, and students who sign up in advance are more likely to get those items as the food pantry can budget for those items.
The food pantry is being marketed in many ways. Flyers can be seen around campus along with Canvas banners. “The biggest way to advertise is through the Canvas app. That has been found to be some of the best ways to market anything across campus.” Threet said.
A common misconception is that the food pantry is only for students who can’t afford groceries. While this is the case for students who can’t afford groceries, the food pantry is open to all Utah Tech students who are hungry. Whether they have had food security or not. The food pantry has food for basic dinners, lunches and breakfasts ready and available.
“If they [students] are having any financial hardships this is for them,” Threet said. “I really firmly believe that we can care of our own. We give and we help when we can.”
Come and Get It program
The Come and Get It program is another opportunity to have access to free food. If you register for the program (free of charge), you automatically get signed up to receive text messages notifying you of when extra food is available on campus.
Extra food comes from different events on campus when food is catered. Students love free food and this is a perfect way to get some.
According to the American Psychological Association, Students who are constantly hungry are at risk of higher rates of depression and anxiety. Hungry students also are more likely to have lower self-esteem and lower point grade averages and lower attendance, which leads to dropping out of college.
“Along with having these programs, advisers and deans have or will be given bags of food for students that are struggling.” Threet said.
Many different offices and classrooms around campus will have bags of food ready for students who need it. That way students can get a meal and eat some food, and then go to the food pantry. In the bags are nonperishable items, and a list of resources available like the Center of Inclusion and Belonging, Booth Wellness Center and more.
Threet said: “There are different times across the semester where there will be free food. We have cooking demos where you can learn how to cook…some different events will have free food available for them [students].”
The food pantry and the Come and Get it programs are one of the many student resources at Utah Tech. If you or any students are hungry, make the stop at the food pantry.