Created by the campuswide Food Insecurity Task Force, the food pantry is designed to serve campus community members with free grab-and-go meals, snacks, nonperishable pantry items and personal hygiene products, according to the release. The project will be managed by faculty and staff volunteers.
“At LSC-University Park, our students’ well being and their success are the highest priorities for administrators, faculty and staff,” LSC-UP President Shah Ardalan said in a statement. “Leo’s Shelf is another faculty-led initiative focused on removing barriers such as food insecurity for our students.”
The initiative is an attempt to tackle food insecurity among students, as an estimated 48% of community college students and 41% of university students are considered food-insecure, according to a 2019 national survey and report from Hope Center for College, Community and Justice. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
The report identifies food insecurity as a common source of stress across college campuses nationwide and also suggests food insecurity can be linked to lower graduation rates.
To stock Leo’s Shelf, LSC-UP’s Student Learning Resource Center established a “Food for Fines” initiative in December, meaning students could donate nonperishable pantry items in lieu of overdue library fines, the release states. Additionally, the college hosted a “Leo’s Shelf Sculpture Competition” in which students, faculty and staff were charged with creating sculptures out of canned food and personal hygiene products.
“We understand that food insecurity is a real issue and Leo’s Shelf is an acknowledgement of the problem,” said Cassandra Khatri, political science professor and campus coordinator of the Office of Civic Engagement, in a statement. “I am so grateful to LCS-University Park administration and the campus community for their support, time and donations, which allowed us to open with a stocked pantry.”
For more information about Leo’s Shelf, visit room B13.210B or email [email protected].