Inside the HSRC – Breonna

My major is Liberal Studies, with the theme of Human Rights and Government. Liberal Studies is a program where you can design your own major by creating a plan with 2+ majors in it. I’m currently studying Ethnic Studies, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as Political Science. I bring this up because my major is an intersectional lens on how government systems can affect marginalized communities. The Human Services Resource Center is financially supported through Oregon State University, which is a federally funded institution that works with multiple minority groups, and identities unique to a university like first-generation students. In my major, I learn about textbook definitions of poverty, homelessness, race, gender, sex, sexuality and many other identities. At the Human Services Resource Center, I see these situations actually happen in front of my eyes. They don’t always appear the way classes say they do.

Since working at the HSRC, I’ve noticed that people from all walks of life come in to use the food pantry, the textbook lending program, laundry facilities, or meet with our Basic Needs coordinator. There is no uniform, cookie-cutter description for what food insecurity looks like. My position is the Food Pantry Volunteer Liasion, I work directly with volunteers and train them how to stock the pantry or how to work food pantry days. I work with university organizations to host food drives or bringing in more regular volunteers. I walk clients through the pantry and explain our point system and every time it’s a different experience. I make emergency food boxes for people who come in. The one huge lesson, I’ve really taken away is that struggling materializes in many different ways. It’s not always the people who’d think it is. Often times, especially with college students, food insecurity and houselessness are invisible. It’s sometimes easy to hide that you need help. This has taught me that there is never a wrong time to tell people about the Human Services Resource Center.

P.S. If you’re reading this, November of 2018, we have a surplus of all kinds of squash at Champinefu Lodge. Please come get some free squash.

I Used SNAP Benefits in College and I’m Proud of It

Jenesis sits at a table outside with a laptop and a mug in front of herI Used SNAP Benefits in College and I’m Proud of It

By Jenesis Long, MAAPS Academic Counselor, Oregon State University

Being an OSU Honors college student from a low-income family, with a FAFSA EFC of $0, came with a unique set of challenges. Even with earning high grades that helped me get scholarships, working two work-study jobs, and going to every free event where food was provided that I could – I still needed more help to ensure my basic needs were met.

I had heard of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits available but had no idea if I would qualify or how to complete the application, so I postponed really looking into it out of fear. I even sacrificed eating regularly and didn’t always buy required textbooks to afford food and avoid accessing this resource.

The idea of needing SNAP (which used to be called Food Stamps) was just really hard for me to come to grips with. I spent hours trying to convince myself I didn’t really need it, that I’d be okay. I remember my roommate offering me food and asking if I’d go out with her to dinner and even offering to pay for my meals so we could hangout (food was a huge source of community!). I finally recognized that it was time to stop letting my pride get in my way and learn how to apply for SNAP benefits and accept that I really did need this service. So, I applied online and hoped for the best.

I was in my bedroom when the phone rang for the follow-up call to my application for SNAP benefits, and my heart was racing. I had no idea what to say (or not say). I didn’t know what they were looking for or what the rules were for eligibility. I was working on campus, so did that mean I wouldn’t qualify for the program? I earned scholarships that helped with my tuition, did that mean I “made too much” for help? I was just hoping that my situation would be “good enough” for their program.

Looking back, I wish I had accepted support more readily. I was so nervous for that call and had no clarity on what to expect. Knowing now that there are resources for OSU students that are seeking SNAP benefits makes me so happy!

If I had been more open to support back then, I definitely would have reached out to learn more about what the process would be like so it didn’t take up so much mental energy to prepare for. After going through what ended up being a pretty brief interview, I was granted the full amount of food benefits possible, I was SHOCKED! It would have taken me an extra 25-30 hours a month of work to earn those same dollars for food. SNAP benefits helped me to regularly have food at home, and provided me with a sense of stability that I couldn’t have achieved on my own while balancing going to lectures and labs, doing homework, working, sleeping, exercising, preparing for my career through internships, and trying to spend time with my friends and family.

Jenesis at an outdoor event with three friends(attending an OSU Football game with my roommate and our friends)

I used to be too fearful to use the HSRC resources. I never even went in to see the space or meet the people who worked there until I had been at OSU for two full years. When I did finally go in, I met welcoming and friendly people. I learned about all the resources available to students like the textbook lending program, the food pantry, and comfortable, safe spaces to spend time and meet new friends. I decided right then and there that I was a forever advocate and supporter of the HSRC.

Jenesis in graduation garb with her friend Alexsandra, also in graduation garb

(celebrating earning my bachelor’s degree at graduation with my friend, Alexsandra Cortes, CAMP – academic counselor)

After graduating from OSU with my honors bachelor’s degree in psychology, I went on to earn my masters of education in college student services administration and now serve as an academic counselor for a program that supports first-generation and low-income students, just like I was. I no longer need the support of SNAP, but am so thankful that I utilized that program when I needed it because it is one of the many support systems I needed to get me to where I am today.

Jenesis with a staff mentor on campus

(celebrating earning my master’s degree with my mentor, Kim McAloney, EOP – Academic Counselor/Academic Engagement Coordinator)

Now as an academic counselor, I tell all of my fellow academic counselors and advisors about the resources available at the HSRC and encourage them to make referrals to their students. As part of the training our staff of academic counselors did, we went and visited the new HSRC space in Champinefu Lodge and we all were delightfully greeted by a home-y, comfortable, welcoming space.

If you or someone you love is an OSU student with questions about how the HSRC can help you, what SNAP benefits are and if you qualify, or want to connect with other people who might be able to understand your situation and support you, I encourage you to contact the HSRC.

 

Human Services Resource Center

Champinefu Lodge
1030 SW Madison Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333
Send Email
Phone: (541) 737-3747

Email:

hsrc@oregonstate.edu
hsrc.foodpantry@oregonstate.edu (for anything related to the food pantry – Please see the Food Pantry page for pantry hours, etc. )

Get To Know Our Staff: Breonna

Name: Breonna

Pronouns: She/Her

HSRC Job Title: Volunteer Food Pantry Liaison

Major/minor: Human Rights and Government with a minor in Social Justice

Career Aspirations: I hope to help those who don’t always have the power to help themselves on a personal and/or bureaucratic level. I’m not sure what that exactly looks like yet, but I want to help people.

Why did you want to work at the HSRC? I wanted to work at the HSRC to get more involved with the Oregon State community as well as translate my major into a career. I believe people fall into unfortunate circumstances often times at no fault of their own and I feel obligated to help, however possible.

What will you be working on? I’ll be working on recruiting volunteers to help at our food pantries. I hope to inspire volunteers to return and see the difference they’re making while working hands-on in their community. I’ll also be working with organizations to host various food drives throughout the year.

What do you like to do in your free time? I don’t come across free time often but when I do I like to have board game nights with friends. It’s nostalgic playing childhood games and a casual way to hang out with friends without spending money! I also love plants. I like to visit Susan’s Garden and Coffee Shop. 

What’s your favorite yummy and cheap meal that you like to make? I love cottage cheese stuffed tomatoes. Scoop out the insides of a tomato into a bowl, fry some veggies (I like to do mushrooms, onions and sometimes bell peppers) combine all of that with the cottage cheese, stuff the tomato and then finish it off with a 10 minute broil in the oven. Ahhh-mazing.

Do you have any tips for students on how to save money? I have a money jar that I put spare change or dollars in. If I have a few dollar bills, I just toss it into the jar. It has really helped me when I’ve been desperate for money.

What are your favorite things to do in Corvallis? My favorite thing to do in Corvallis is going to Avery Park when the weather is nice. You can swim in the river, hammock at the park or walk through the rose garden.

Where is your favorite spot to relax on campus? The College of Liberal Arts has to have one of my favorite lounges. I like the quiet atmosphere and the location.

What is your favorite movie and why? My favorite movie is Moulin Rouge, I love Baz Luhrmann movies. The singing and hopeless romance get me in my feels. It’s also just a very different plot than most musical love stories.

Get To Know Our Staff!

Name: Anne

Pronouns: she/her/hers

HSRC Job Title: SNAP Outreach Liaison

Major/minor: I’m majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish, and a certificate in Food and Culture in Social Justice.

Career Aspirations: There are so many things! Eventually I’d like to pursue a Masters and PhD, and hopefully end up teaching in higher-ed. I’ve always loved teaching and education, and in the meantime, would also love to pursue my passions for food justice and local sustainability through grassroots and non-profit work, in whatever form that might take.

Why did you want to work at the HSRC?: I really wanted to find a place where I could make a real, tangible difference in the world, and try to make it better. The HSRC’s values of abundance and focus on putting students first really stood out to me; the way that students take ownership of the programs and events at the HSRC is really amazing. I love being able to come to a work space and be surrounded by individuals who are committed to pushing back against poverty, racism, sexism, capitalism, and other injustices that are so prevalent in our society.

What will you be working on? I will be working on developing the SNAP Ambassador program, which will aim to get students talking to each other about SNAP benefits, tearing down the stigma surrounding government assistance and educating their peers on what the college student experience might look like for under-resourced students. In addition to that, I will be doing outreach to students we believe might be eligible for SNAP benefits as reported by our Food Assistance Application.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love to read! It’s one of my favorite past-times- when I was in grade school I actually got in trouble for trying to sneakily read under my desk while the teacher was talking. I find myself incredibly busy during the school year, and often unable to do this, but when I have time, I really love cooking more elaborate and complex meals. There’s something really meditative to me about the process of putting together a meal. Even better is when I get to share what I’ve made with others!

What’s your favorite yummy and cheap meal that you like to make?: Fried rice! I almost always have the essentials (in my opinion): eggs, rice, and soy sauce.  After that, if I have any veggies I’ll chop those up and throw ’em in! This is especially good for the veg on its last leg, like when the carrots get a little less crunchy and more bendy, or the bell peppers start to wrinkle. You can make a  bunch in one go if your pan’s big enough, and then have lunch prepped for the whole week. I’ll add different sauces like Sriracha, sweet and sour, General Tso’s, or teriyaki to mix it up throughout the week and keep from getting bored of eating the same thing. If I want a little extra protein, I’ll fry up an egg over medium to put on top, or mix in some cubed tofu.

Do you have any tips for students on how to save money? I love coffee, and especially during the most stressful, busy times of the term, find myself wanting multiple cups per day, but not able to go home to make them. Even if you just get drip coffee, 3 of those in a day equals like $6, which adds up if you do that multiple days in a row! I’ll take a reusable mug and bring in some powdered instant coffee (I think the Trader Joe’s brand is way tastier than Nescafe, though of course straight from the bean is best!) Cafe’s around campus will fill up your mug with hot water, then you can add in your own instant coffee, and add milk and sugar as you like it!

What are you favorite things to do in Corvallis? I love dancing, so almost every week while school is in you can find me doing West Coast Swing at the Women’s Building Wednesday nights.  The monthly event Rainbow in the Clouds (21 over, sorry 😉 ) is also one of my favorite things in Corvallis.

Where is your favorite spot to relax on campus? I love setting up a hammock between two shady trees when the weather is nice. In the winter the MU common space is always a favorite. It has a really cozy atmosphere, especially when they have the fires going!

Which building on campus would you haunt and why if you were a ghost? I’d like to haunt LINC. People expect the older buildings on campus to be haunted, like Waldo, or the Women’s Building, but no one would see it coming from a new one! That building already has occasional tech problems; I’d be happy to contribute to those as a ghost!

Get To Know Our Staff: Salena

Website, Social Media, and Marketing Organizer

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Major/minor: B.A. Sociology w/ Crime & Justice option

Career Aspirations: My ultimate goal is to be an attorney for youth and/or pave the way for major reform within the Justice System, but I think I would be happy in any position where I am able to help and be a viable resource for those seeking assistance.  

Why did you want to work at the HSRC? I wanted to work at the HSRC because of the amazing work that is being done here to help ease the stress of financial barriers that keep students and community members from reaching their full potential. Because I have been on the receiving end of similar services, it is truly rewarding to be able to provide the same assistance and resources to others.

What will you be working on? Over the summer, I have been working on maintaining the Textbook Lending Program. During the academic year, my role is keeping our all of our social media platforms and website up to date with current information, creating fliers and posters for events,  and posting regularly to keep everyone informed about the happenings and events within the HSRC.

What do you like to do in your free time? I am an adventurer at heart. In my free time, I really enjoy taking long drives through the mountains and finding neat places to explore and hike. My absolute favorite place to explore is anywhere along the Oregon coast. When I’m not out and about exploring, I enjoy cuddling up with my pups, Mochi and Buster, and sneaking naps in whenever possible.

What’s your favorite yummy and cheap meal that you like to make? My favorite meal when food and money are low would have to be a hearty pot of soup with whatever I can find in my cupboards! I use whatever meat I have, any kind of canned beans, broth/bullion (or cans of soup), any pasta (usually broken into small pieces), potatoes, and any canned (or fresh!) veggies I have on hand. With a little bit of seasoning, it tastes great regardless of the ingredients! This soup usually makes a huge portion that I’m able to eat daily for a week or freeze and easily eat at another time.

Do you have any tips for students on how to save money? Some of the things I do are: *ALWAYS* comparing prices when shopping. This is a huge one because oftentimes generic items are cheaper, but there are times when the name brands go on sale for even less than the generic. Always get the free membership cards at stores you shop at to save more money. For example, I don’t regularly shop at Safeway, but when I do, I use my club card so that I can earn points for $ off at the Safeway gas station. Students can also save a ton of money by utilizing the Textbook Lending Program, where they can check out their textbooks for FREE for the entire term.

What are you favorite things to do in Corvallis? Corvallis is the perfect place to get outside and connect with nature. I really enjoy exploring McDonald-Dunn forest and all of the great natural areas and parks in the area. There are so many hidden gems and great places to wander.

If you had one wish or chance to use a magic wand, what would you do? If I had a chance to use a magic wand, I definitely would turn myself magical! I’d love to use magic to explore the universe and to help humankind love one another.

What is your favorite movie/band/artist/book/TV show (choose one) and why? My favorite TV show would have to be Game of Thrones or That 70’s Show… They’re completely different ends of the spectrum but they’re great in their own ways. GOT is really nice when I feel like I want to watch something really intense and sort of confusing to keep myself on the edge of my seat, but T70S is just hilarious and I always have a good time watching it.

 

Gettin’ to know the Garden

by Anne Snell

Did you know the HSRC has a garden? That’s right! Just to the East of the building are 7 rows of soil,  and two raised beds. (Or, if you’re directionally challenged like me, the side with the 30-minute parking spots.) There is also a mini orchard which includes dwarf-sized fruit trees like fig, apple, pear, and persimmon. The garden began in the 2016-2017 school year as part of the Growing Food Security Initiative between the HSRC and the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI).

Two of the garden beds, growing baby kale and pepper plants

If it doesn’t look like much now, it’s because this will actually be the garden’s first year producing a full season of crops!  It takes time for well-producing gardens to form. The Organic Growers Club grew the starts from seed to help us save money. This also helps make sure we get the varieties people want to eat.  The soil conditions are constantly improving, so in a few years, they will be even more nutrient rich than they are now. More nutrients in the soil means more produce!

Colorful Swiss Chard is almost ready to harvest!

This year the garden, which is mostly managed by the SSI, is growing vegetables like Swiss chard, tomatoes, kale, tomatillos, bell peppers, carrots, beets, squash, and garlic. Everything grown in the garden is harvested directly for the HSRC’s Shopping Style Food Pantry nights or Fresh Food Friday. Production is slow right now, but come summer, and into the fall, we will have vegetables galore!

The apples aren’t quite ripe yet, but they will be soon!

 

 

The HSRC Community  Garden isn’t just for  providing fresh produce to the food pantry. It is also a learning environment, where students can get their hands dirty and help grow the food harvested from the garden. In the future we hope students can engaged in the process of growing food, both so they can give back to their community, but also so they can learn the skills required to grow your own food for themselves. The community garden we have is small, and still very young, but growin’ strong!