The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Hunger-Free Campus initiative hosts food drive

Katherine Babin

ULM’s campus buzzed with generosity last Tuesday as students, faculty and even Ace the Warhawk rallied together at the Activity Center, all with one mission: to combat food insecurity through a donation drive.

ULM’s Hunger-Free Campus initiative wanted to raise awareness about food insecurity, along with collecting non-perishable food items. Donors listened as guest speakers shared facts and statistics about hunger on college campuses. President Ron Berry praised the actions and generosity of attending students.

“Thank you for helping your fellow students,” Berry said. “What you’re going through is stressful enough, right? You don’t want to have to go to college and wonder where your next meal is coming from.”

According to Robert Reed, the chair of ULM’s Hunger-Free Campus initiative, 143 students donated to the drive. The massive turnout helped restock the ULM Food Pantry with over 500 new items. 

“I wanted to donate because I wanted to make sure that people with food insecurities would be able to know that they do have a meal,” Emma Pitre, a freshman pre-pharmacy major, said. 

Food insecurity remains a prevalent but often unacknowledged issue on college campuses. Many students simply cannot afford the rising cost of groceries while paying tuition or rent. Government programs such as SNAP require students to have a specific level of income to receive food stamps. These requirements sometimes make students struggling with food insecurity ineligible for food stamps. 

“About 29% of the students who are involved in these campuses have some type of food insecurity,” Vice President of Student Affairs Valerie Fields said. Fields worked with the Louisiana Board of Regents to establish food resources on all Louisiana college campuses.

ULM, partnering with the Hunger-Free Campus initiative, established several programs to combat food insecurity. 

Three years ago, ULM created a free food pantry stocked with canned vegetables and ramen noodles. Students and faculty struggling with food insecurity can access the pantry after notifying workers at the Activity Center. 

Student-led organizations also recognized that food insecurity is a major issue on campus.  SGA instituted the Swipe Out Hunger program, which gifts struggling students with free meal swipes. Different RSOs often host community service days at the local food bank, packing cardboard boxes to the brim with water and rice. 

If you were unable to attend the drive, you can still do your part. The Hunger-Free Campus initiative plans to sponsor more drives and fundraisers throughout the school year. 

“I just hope these initiatives bring awareness to our Warhawk community about the challenges our students face and provide a means to help,” Reed said. 

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