Transitioning to Inclusive Sustainability in an Insecure and Divided World
Brittney Chesher, graduate intern with the HSRC, recently had the opportunity to be a presenter at the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference held at Portland State University on February 7th. During the panel session, Brittney was able to share resources with attendees interested in learning how to better support college students experiencing food, housing, and financial insecurity. “The HSRC and UHDS are doing some great things and it was so rewarding to share tangible resources and potential next steps with other institutions in the region who are becoming aware of how important it is to meet student’s basic needs”. Brittney was able to share about resources that have developed at OSU in the past few years including: @eatfreeOSU twitter campaign, the HSRC Food Pantry, and the work that went into the an on-campus c-store, Cascadia Market, accepting SNAP funds.
The HSRC’s Textbook Lending Program, a collaboration with some amazing partners OSU Valley Library has been an important success. We wrote about our work for the Journal of Access Services.
Access services are human services: Collaborating to provide textbook access to students
Written by Kelly McElroy, Dan Moore, Lori Hilterbrand and Nicole Hindes
Despite the clear negative impact of high textbook costs on students, limits—including space, funding, and policies—prevent many academic libraries from fully supporting textbook collections. Partnering with other campus units on textbook lending requires creative thinking but can provide students access to other services in addition to the books they need for class. This article describes a partnership between an academic library and a student services unit to provide support for a noncustodial textbook lending program.
If you’ve never visited the Human Services Resource Center during days when we have a shopping-style food pantry, this post can give you an idea of what to expect.
As a reminder, you can find our schedule on our website – and you can visit during non-shopping style days and we can help make you a box of food.
There is free street parking immediately in front of Avery on Madison Avenue, though it’s often full during the school day. More street parking can be found on adjacent city streets. The parking lot immediately East of Avery is monitored until 5:00 pm, as is the crescent campus lot 1/2 block away to the West. Further details can be found at the OSU parking page. If you’re stopping in for a quick food box, you may find the 30 minute loading zone spots helpful.
We know that some people might have concerns about data collection and privacy. The information collected on this form is not shared with the broader university. You can read more about our data collection and data philosophy on our website.
We get most of our food from the Linn Benton Food Share, our regional food bank. Using this sign-in form and following strict confidentiality rules are part of our agreement with them.
First, you’ll get to choose the fresh produce options you’d like to take home to your family.
On average, each household that visits the HSRC gets about 5 lbs of produce per visit. We get some of our produce from the Linn Benton Food Share or from members of our communities with abundant home gardens. We are especially grateful for community gardens like Produce for the People and our partnership with the Student Sustainability Initiative, Growing Food Security who help us be generous with produce at the HSRC.
After you shop for fresh produce and frozen items, you’ll move into our dry-good storage area where you can choose from the shelf-stable items.
If you have dietary restrictions or food allergies, let the volunteer or staff person who’s assisting you know – we’ll make sure you get extra of something else to make things equitable. You don’t have to take home anything you don’t like or don’t need.
Once a volunteer has called your name, most people spend 15-20 minutes shopping for their groceries. We usually have a lot to choose from.
On average, the HSRC provides 18 lbs of food per individual. If you’re a household of two, this means an average of 32 lbs of food!
The Human Services Resource Center and Student Sustainability Initiative aim to reduce student hunger with “One Snap, Get SNAP.”
On January 19th, 2018, over the course of four hours, 53 students, in both graduate and undergraduate studies, filtered through to begin their applications for SNAP benefits, otherwise known as food stamps. Application processes can be intimidating. As we heard from one student, “I’ve attempted to apply before but never completed the application due to not being sure about some of the answers.” To help with the application process three SNAP experts from the OSU Extension SNAP Outreach team and the Oregon Department of Human Services were on hand to assist as needed. Staff had both paper applications, and provided laptops so students can complete the online application if that was their preference.
Roughly 36% of OSU students reported not having enough financial resources on the 2017 Campus Inclusivity Survey. While the average student attending the event applied for benefits only for themselves, at least 5 students who responded to our follow-up survey applied for benefits for a household of two or more people. One student shared through the survey: “This was such a helpful event. I kept on putting off doing the paperwork and was worried I wouldn’t get benefits. Any questions I had were answered and I don’t have to worry as much.” Eligibility qualifications for students can be confusing, so having staff available to assist was key to the successful event.
Food was provided at the event, and 323 KIND granola bars were distributed, each affixed with stickers promoting event details prior to the 19th. An important value of the HSRC is abundance of resources, especially in regard to food. The HSRC sees the need many students experience in the form of increased Food Assistance Application numbers. Increased attendance at the multiple monthly food pantry nights at Avery Lodge, and term by term growth of the Textbook Lending Program also illustrate the growing need of students. Providing food at the event ensured that everyone who came by, at least got to eat lunch for the day.
Through the efforts of the HSRC and SSI, the students who attended “One Snap, Get SNAP” could, combined, receive upwards of $50,000 in grocery money over the course of the next six months (approximately $157 per month per person, though individuals could be eligible for up to $189 per month and those with families or dependents could see even more). While not a permanent fix to student hunger, programming and outreach for SNAP benefits helps provide students with resources that better allow them to focus on school. Providing access to these community resources on campus, where students spend a lot of their time, helps make the process for applying for SNAP benefits easier. When students aren’t worried about where their next meal is coming from they are better able to concentrate on school and make the most of their education, further enriching themselves and their communities.