With final exams just around the corner, students may be wondering where they can nab a quick breakfast, a study snack, or an easy dinner option, all in hopes of saving time and money. The days of scrambling to ‘caf’ at the last minute or reluctantly DoorDashing Taco Bell may be coming to a close thanks to a convenient addition to the Campus Center.
On Friday, November 3rd, our Student Life staff were proud to announce the grand re-opening of the student food pantry. Located upstairs in the Engagement Center, the grab-and-go system now sports additional shelving space and a full-size refrigerator. The unveiling featured a short speech on the history and future of the pantry from Michael Covert, Dean of Students, and it wouldn’t be a campus center event without Ryan Benjamin and his popcorn machine.
The pantry has been located in the Engagement Center since January 2022 and is often advertised to students who stay on campus over breaks (such as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday) as a food option when dining services are closed. Its ongoing existence and advertisement made the food storage’s “grand re-opening” slightly confusing, but talking with Dean Covert about its humble beginnings and intended direction cleared things up.
The student food pantry first started 8-10 years ago and was placed in the counseling office with the student well-being staff. However, as accessibility and storage issues arose, the service was moved to the Engagement Center. The space is by no means perfect, as it is a reservable room and a popular study location, making some students hesitant to visit the pantry with privacy concerns in mind. However, it remains “the best location available at this time.”
Dean Covert acknowledged the challenges of this space but was reassuring in the efforts that he and the rest of our staff were ready to put in, stating “You can contact Student Life at any time, and we are happy to pick up stuff for you.” As long as the Campus Center is open, students can expect to have access to the pantry, which will be refilled as often as necessary as Student Life determines how often students will be using the resource.
The re-introduction of the pantry didn’t have to do with the space, but rather its operation. Up until this point, the pantry’s existence has relied on donations from athletics teams, the Transylvania Women’s Society, and other organizations. Towards the end of this summer, arrangements were made by Associate Vice President of Advancement Cara Covert to solidify alumni donations that would ensure “more food, more regularly” in the food pantry, marking a large step forward for the student service. This funding also opened the door to the installment of a refrigerator, which will be stocked with perishable goods, frozen meals, and more. Dean Covert also hopes that commuters who pack their lunches will take advantage of the space.
Sharing food cultivates community, and seeing Transy take a step in the right direction is promising for what is to come. If you’re looking for a quick bite, stop by the student engagement center’s new and improved food pantry, and feel free to donate dry goods, non-perishables, and toiletries to continue the cycle of good deeds. You can also make requests for any food or beverages you’d like to see added to the mix!