It’s amazing what can happen when people come together. There is strength in a community when they work with one another. Here at Michigan Technological University we have a fantastic community, filled with individuals and groups who are willing to help each other out. The newly established Husky FAN (Food Access Network), first known as the Food Insecurities Task Force, is a great example of our community coming together for a cause.
In the fall of 2014 the Dean of Students Office found itself addressing the issue of hunger among students at Michigan Tech. Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman decided to form a committee to address the issue, and included individuals from various organizations and departments on campus. The committee’s first action was to assess the level of food insecurity in our Michigan Tech community. After a university wide survey in the spring of 2015, it was found that there is a need here in our community. When asked “In the last 30 days, were you ever hungry but did not eat because you could not afford food?” 26% of the survey respondents said yes. And, of these respondents, two thirds were experiencing hunger 1-2 days a week.
With the assurance that something needed to be done, the committee came up with multiple strategies. After much consideration, it was decided to pursue opening our own campus food pantry. We also began looking for a way for those with meal plans to donate guest meal swipes to those in need. In addition to finding way to provide food to those in need, the committee decided that is was important to educate the community about hunger, healthy eating, and creative ways to make a little go a long way.
I am happy to say that all of these goals set forth from the beginning have made significant progress. Today students can donate the guest meal swipes online, allowing those in need to request meal swipes from the same system. A campus food pantry is set to open the first day of class this semester, located in the Hamar House, which also houses the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). Food collection started this summer and the campus has embraced the idea of food drives for the campus food pantry. For those in immediate need, emergency meal packets are available 24/7 at Public Safety. In addition, a Tech Fund account has been established to accept financial donations. Collaborations with the Outdoor Adventure Program, Health and Wellness, Housing and Residential Life, Dining Services, the Greek community, Public Safety, and others are bringing our community together around this cause.
It is truly amazing what can be accomplished in under a year and this is just the beginning. Husky FAN thanks you for your support and invites you to contribute. To learn more, look around our webpage or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 2015
Former Undergraduate Student Government Representative and founding member of the Husky FAN