Fighting Food Insecurity on our Campus: Poly Pantry
In August of 2018, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a new program titled “No Student Goes Hungry”. This program mandated that every SUNY and CUNY schools have food pantry located in stigma-free environments.¹
In October of 2018, SUNY Poly assembled a task force with representatives from Sodexo, the SUNY Poly Foundation, Auxiliary Services, Division of Student Affairs, and the Student Government at Utica. Within a month, a location was secured, marketing material was developed, and donations started to pour in. Poly Pantry started to take shape when the pantry collected over $2,000 in cash donations, plus nonperishable foods from the Faculty and Staff Annual Holiday Party. The pantry has also received generous sponsorships from Walmart, Sodexo, the Student Government at Utica, Dominion Energy Transmission, Compassion Coalition including Bargain Grocer, and many other community members.
In January of 2019, SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina M. Johnson reported at the State of the University System Address that all 64 SUNY campuses have fulfilled the governor's requirement to address food insecurity by either having a food pantry on campus, or a partnership with a local food pantry, to provide resources to students in need.²
Poly Pantry, which officially opened its doors on January 21st, 2019, is something that every SUNY Poly student should be proud of. To date, Poly Pantry has assisted over 68 different students, 86.8% of which have been commuter students, and 13.2% have been residential students. Poly Pantry has given away 1,180 pounds of food, and 402 pounds of toiletries. Every week, the Poly Pantry task force is working to promote the Poly Pantry, so we can ensure that all our students have a predictable next meal.
SUNY Poly has strategically placed collection boxes in Residential Life, Auxiliary Services, Cayan Library, Student Center, and Field House for easy collection of goods. Poly Pantry is also not limited to nonperishable food; it also collects hygiene products, laundry detergent, toilet paper, tissues, mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and more.
The success of Poly Pantry and the outpouring support from our campus community for this project has warmed my heart and the hearts of many others. Food insecurity tends to be one of those topics that gets overlooked, and I am excited to be part of a group that is working to change that, as well as address the other needs of our students.
Poly Pantry is available to any SUNY Poly community member. Please visit www.sunypoly.edu/polypantry for more information. Contact Megan Wyett-Lennon at Megan.Wyett@sunypoly.edu or Andrea LaGatta at Andrea.LaGatta@sunypoly.edu with questions.
With questions regarding the article, please contact the author, Tucker Mogren, at email@example.com
"Providing Food Security to All Students - SUNY." https://www.suny.edu/features/food-security/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2019.
"2019 State of the University System - SUNY." 31 Jan. 2019, https://www.suny.edu/about/leadership/chancellor/speeches/sotus-2019/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2019.