The Shop prepares for move to the International House this fall

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The Shop will be moving to The Rowan International House pictured, located on State Street. - Staff Writer / Marchella Mazzoni

The Shop Pantry and Resource Center is currently in the process of moving locations for this upcoming Fall semester from room 141 of Building Five in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments to the off-campus International House on 124 State St. Operating about 200 yards from its current location, this new space will provide three stories for added resources including offices for financial aid counselors and workshop areas. 

After applying for The New Jersey Hunger-Free Campus Grant, The Shop received funds to support hunger initiatives on the Rowan campus and expand on the center. The grant is directed toward organizations that are creating innovative solutions to student hunger.

Assistant Director for the Office of Volunteerism and Community Engagement, Andrew Perrone first pitched the idea to utilize the unused housing facility on State St. to the Dean of Students. After winning the grant, The Shop began renovating the house to structurally support the floors to hold the weight of the inventory. Following the construction’s completion, The Shop is in the stage of putting in the shelving and setting up for next semester with the help of students from the Honors College. 

“It’s going to expand the square footage of the pantry, so one benefit is we have more space for the pantry, but then the other added benefit is we also have the second and third floor of the house that we can do other things with,” said Perrone. “If you’re coming to the pantry, you’ll have access to not just the things we have at the pantry, but other resources that can support you more holistically as a student.” 

The building’s layout will have the first floor dedicated to the pantry while the second and third floors will be a place for students who come to get food to have direct access to campus resources. A clothing closet as well as childcare items will be found upstairs in the resource center space. 

The Office of Career Advancement’s Career Closet will allow students to shop for professional clothing for job interviews and fairs. In partnership with the preschool in James Hall, The Shop is working with the lead preschool teacher to provide supplies for students who are parents and support their children. The Shop will feature diapers, wipes, and baby clothing all in the fall. 

“A huge thing I’ve really been hoping that Rowan expands on is family housing. Rowan does not have family housing right now so I know a lot of student parents are struggling,” said the class of 2023 graduate in HR management and The Shop coordinator, Alexandria Kerr. “Hopefully this is another resource available to them. Formula is so expensive, baby clothes are so expensive, and especially because kids grow so fast.” 

The Student Government Association (SGA) is working with The Shop to convert bedrooms into conference rooms for meetings and group discussions. Office space inside these rooms will be made for financial aid counselors and wellness specialists to work inside the resource center. The pair are also working together to create a textbook exchange to allow students to donate textbooks and utilize other textbooks as a free resource. Faculty in the hard sciences and engineering will assist The Shop in providing science supplies such as lab coats and faculty in the Art department will supply creative materials. 

“All of these resources are here…but it’s in five or six different places around campus. If we bring it all into one place, a lot more people will learn about it so we’re expecting that there will be students who come to the resource center because they want to go to the pantry,” Perrone said. “Then when they get there they find out, wait, there’s a clothing closet and there’s a textbook exchange and class supplies, and they’re gonna learn. Those things exist now but they probably just don’t know about them.” 

Since receiving a grant from the Zallie Family Foundation operated by the Shoprite in Glassboro, The Shop will be able to buy additional refrigerators and freezers to bring into the larger space. The two refrigerators and one freezer in the current shop will be moved through Rowan University’s movers. With anything left over in the grant, The Shop will be able to purchase all milk to accommodate students from non-animal to lactose-free milk. The shop plans to have nut milk such as almond milk and cashew milk, as well as soy milk. 

“They have fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs, pretty much any basics you need from the grocery store,” said junior psychology major, Hannah Cassidy. “They even have more fun stuff like cookies and things like that if you want, they have pretty much everything.” 

The Shop is targeting the grand opening of their new location for the Fall 2024 semester. This decision was made to ensure students can plan to fit The Shop into their schedules with notice. Thursday, Feb. 15 volunteers will build shelves and be given pastries while working in the ambience of music. Those interested in volunteering at The Shop and helping out in the move can contact theshop@rowan.edu via email. 

“I am so excited for the move. We are going to be able to help so many more students. Just being able to have that much more shelf space, we’ll be able to fit a ton more,” said Kerr. 

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