Between tuition, textbooks, housing, groceries and other living expenses, university students experience significant financial challenges. According to a 2018 survey of students from 66 institutions, 36% said they struggled with food insecurity. Students at the University of Arizona are no exception. Each week, the Campus Pantry supports students and staff in-need of groceries. This non-profit organization was founded by students in 2012 after they perceived a rise in food insecurity on campus. Since then, they have held regular distribution events in the basement of the Student Union. Students and staff can receive food at no cost upon presenting their CatCard, and no questions are asked.
The Libraries has organized food drives for the local food bank and also participates in UA Cares, an annual giving campaign for United Way of Tucson. Because we are committed to student success and food insecurity is of great concern to our staff, we chose to support the Campus Pantry this holiday season. At our first Campus Pantry food drive, led by Octavio Fuentes, Assistant Dean, Finance & Administration, staff donated almost 200 items. We plan to support them in the long run by hosting more food drives.
Fuentes said: "We all come from and currently live in diverse socioeconomic situations. Some of us, including myself, know the stress of wondering from where and when the next meal will come. Throughout my life, I have been blessed to be the recipient of someone’s gracious offering, including their food. It is an honor and a duty to do whatever I can to help others. Our students make sacrifices to enroll at our institution and work hard. The very least we can do is help feed their bodies to fuel their success.”