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.