Cyclones Cupboard Opens for Student Support

Cyclones Cupboard Grand Opening with ribbon
March 18, 2022

After years of support from faculty, students, and staff, SCTCC opened the door to the Cyclones Cupboard on March 16.

As students walked past the new Cyclones Cupboard near door 4, Student Support Manager Catherine Paro shared the good news that the food pantry was open and today was the grand opening, encouraging students to take a free pizza cutter, spatula, or jar opener. Inside 1-450, Campus Life Director Shaun Keeley showed visitors what food was available, how to get a meal, and handed out cookies to celebrate the big day.

President Annesa Cheek prepared the scissors while students Amanda Hoppe and Emma Imdieke held the ribbon.

The grand opening has been a long time coming to SCTCC. Faculty and students have long advocated for a food pantry on campus, with support especially from instructors like Jan Stanley, who have food items in their classrooms and offices for students.

In 2019, students completed the Hope Center #RealCollege survey about food insecurity. The results were surprising: nearly half of SCTCC students had been food insecure in the previous 30 days. The Student Senate in 2019 decided to do something about it until the college could get a food pantry in place. The Cyclones Snacks program launched shortly after the survey, providing grab-n-go items like granola bars and fruit snacks at several locations across campus. Then in 2021, by using Covid-19 relief funds, SCTCC started to transition to a more permanent food pantry designed to provide nutritious meal options for food-insecure students. This culminated in renovating the Northway 1-450 space for Cyclones Cupboard and, finally, a door – and the Grand Opening on March 16.

During the open house, about 55 students stopped by, and several faculty, students, and staff joined Keeley, President Annesa Cheek, and Foundation Director Daniel Larson for a short program at noon.

“Addressing food insecurity boosts academic performance, which promotes more focused learning for retention and degree completion, and positions students for career and life success,” said President Cheek during the program.

Providing students with the equitable opportunities to succeed inside and outside the classroom is SCTCC’s ultimate goal. The college is making efforts to adding more support services that are available to all students to be a student-ready college.

“Word of the day is support,” explained President Cheek. “Under the right conditions, all students can succeed. It’s our job to create the right conditions.”

While Cyclones Cupboard isn’t meant to be a consistent means of food, it can open a conversation with those who use it about other supports the community offers and roadblocks students may be running into while they’re working on their education for that better career and more opportunity. And like other SCTCC Student Support Services, the Cyclones Cupboard is available and free to all students.

SCTCC is positioning itself to be a place where students can be supported academically, equitably, and as a part of a community. The SCTCC community is ready to be that support.

During the Grand Opening of the Cyclones Cupboard, President Cheek said it well:

“I hope after you’ve heard all that we have to share with you today, you leave changed. Changed in your mindset about the real issues facing today’s college student. Changed with increased insight on the myriad positive impacts Cyclones Cupboard with have on our students beyond simply satiating their hunger.”

Kate Wallace