SCTCC has a new way to help students facing food insecurity or even those who just forgot their lunch for the day: CycloneSnacks are available in 5 locations around campus.
The SCTCC Student Senate took the lead last year on making the CycloneSnacks stations a campus priority as a part of a statewide initiative by LeadMN, which represents 180,000 two-year college students in Minnesota.
Abbie Wuertz, a returning Senate member, said that having food available for students was a priority, and seeing the stations on campus this semester is a first step toward reducing food insecurity.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap for students who don’t have food and who are worried about where their next meal is coming from,” said Wuertz. “We want everyone here to have the same opportunity to be their best.”
In 2018, students at SCTCC were encouraged to take the Hope Survey, which assesses meeting basic needs.
504 SCTCC students responded to the survey, and of those students:
- 44% were food insecure in last 30 days
- 48% were worried food would run out before they got money to buy more
- 45% of food insecure students are currently employed
- 68% reported food insecurity, housing insecurity, or homelessness
The results from the survey only encouraged the Senate to take action with the help of LeadMN. LeadMN uses Hope Survey results to support its Hunger Free Campuses campaign, which addresses food insecurity on Minnesota community and technical college campuses.
“The senate definitely got this rolling,” explained Wuertz. “We had a lot of resources here on campus that we reached out to. And once people heard about it, other people started to join in. There’s more teachers and students who are bringing in food donations on their own, which is awesome.”
By working with Campus Life and other SCTCC departments, the CycloneSnacks stations were up and running by the end of the first week of fall semester 2019.
“I am excited to see Cyclonesnacks up and running; I saw the time and effort our students put into this initiative," said Nate Hiestand, Athletics Director and advisor to the Senate. "We also have amazing faculty and staff who have stepped up to support our students experiencing food insecurity. My hope is that this gives students one less thing to worry about so they are able to focus on their academics at SCTCC.”
CycloneSnacks are located in each building on campus:
- Outside the CAS (1-112)
- Study room near Door 6
- Hallway near TRIO (by 1-133)
- Health Sciences in 125L
- Heartland (Library) near the circulation desk
CycloneSnacks is available for all students, food insecure or not. If students forgot a lunch or need a quick snack to hold them over until they get home, they are more than welcome to take a snack. The only ask is that students just take what they need so there is enough for everyone.
The Student Senate is working to create an equal playing field for all students when it comes to food, and the CycloneSnacks is just the beginning, said Wuertz.
“We’re working on getting more food and more locations. This is just the start of it and we’re hoping to get bigger and bridge the gap as much as we can.”
Students who are food insecure are encouraged to visit with Catherine Paro (firstname.lastname@example.org) about community resources available and how SCTCC can help. Catherine is in 1-401 near the front entrance.
Anyone is welcome to donate to CycloneSnacks, either by dropping off donations of individually packaged snack items like granola bars, cup-o-soups, crackers, etc. at the reception desk in 1-401 or donating financially through the SCTCC Foundation.