For many college students, the phrase “free food” is always appreciated but rarely heard. However, hungry students may now have their fill with the opening of a new campus resource center in Rowan Boulevard Apartments.
The center, also known as Students Helping Other Profs (SHOP), held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday right outside its location at Rowan Boulevard building 5-141. The SHOP will supply Rowan students on a strict budget with non-perishable foods and other resources like toiletries and clothing for free. The SHOP is open for the rest of the spring semester on Wednesdays from noon to 4:00 p.m., Fridays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on the first and last saturdays of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to all those with a Rowan ID.
The SHOP took over a year to organize with the goal of ending student hunger, according to Rbrey Singleton, Rowan Student Government Association’s (SGA) alternate student trustee and member of the university’s Affordability Task Force. The SGA provided an initial budget of $30,000 for the SHOP and the Rowan Foundation set up a fund that raised another $27,000.
Several organizations from around Glassboro came together to help supply the pantry with food and goods for students and will continue to provide foods monthly, said Associate Vice President for Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness Penny McFeircen-Myers.
During the spring 2016 semester, the Affordability Task Force surveyed Rowan students about hunger. The results showed that 51 percent of students said that they suffered from some form of food insecurity, either because they had cut spending on food or skipped meals entirely.
“College students joke about being hungry all the time, but it is no joke,” Singleton said.
The SHOP is also meant to advocate healthy eating, with Rowan’s catering service Gourmet Dining providing free cooking lessons for students periodically throughout the semester.
“We are trying to focus on the healthy part of the pantry,” said John Birmingham, head chef for Gourmet Dining.
He went on to talk about how the cooking demonstrations Gourmet Dining usually holds on campus have changed.
“Every recipe you read is for six to 12 people; we need recipes for one [or] two, and that’s what we’re trying to work on,” Birmingham said.
SGA President Daniel Cardona said that the main focus of this and future projects coming to the university is about sustainability for Rowan and its student body.
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