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SA resolution provides $2,000 for SSI Pantry

Brandon Chen / Thresher

By Spring Chenjp     11/14/23 10:35pm

A resolution allocating $2,000 to the Student Success Initiative’s pantry passed unanimously at the Student Association senate meeting Nov. 13. 

The resolution, presented by Brown College President Jae Kim and Will Rice College President Gazi Fuad, uses the general project fund in the SA budget. The pantry contains hygiene and non-perishable food items and is “an anonymous resource for all students, faculty, staff, and community members” experiencing food insecurity, according to the SSI website.

According to the resolution, the funds were allocated due to the growing concern of food insecurity among college students and the “limited resources and funding” of the pantry.

“One in five college students experience food insecurity,” Fuad, a senior, said. “I’ve also heard from my own constituents coming up to me [saying], ‘I wish we had our own little food pantry at Will Rice.’”

Kim, a junior, said he learned about the pantry’s monetary needs by speaking with SSI staff. 

“The pantry is an amazing initiative, but they lack the financial resources to make it as successful as it can be,” Kim said. “Money from the Student Association will be a nice [and] quick solution to address the food insecurity that exists right now.”

According to Fuad, the resolution stemmed from work by the previous Will Rice and Wiess College presidents in the 2022-23 academic year to address food insecurity on campus.

“They had worked with SSI and the pantry last year to start a canned food drive within Will Rice and Wiess,” Fuad said. “But it was only mildly successful because most people who would donate are [off-campus], but then they’d have to bring the food on campus, and that’s a hassle.”

Fuad said he felt directly funding the pantry would be most beneficial by allowing SSI staff to purchase items based on the demand they saw.

Kim said the funding was designed to supplement other solutions to food insecurity at Rice.

“I know [Housing and Dining] has a lot of late-night options [and] projects they’re working on, like alternatives to meal swipes, and SSI has projects too,” Kim said. “They’re all projects that are being materialized, and [the funding] can be a supplement during that time period.”

SA President Solomon Ni said in addition to this resolution, the SA had previously implemented a meal swipe donation program.

“With Student Success Initiatives, we work closely in terms of this issue of food insecurity through a meal swipe donation program that [the SA] launched in the beginning of the fall, and that we’re hoping to do in the spring,” Ni said.

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