SUNY Cortland and State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras are working together to find a solution to students fighting hunger.
The university is among seven of the 64 SUNY campuses to be awarded a second round of grants to purchase food pantry refrigeration.
SUNY Cortland will use the funds to buy a commercial refrigerator for the SUNY Cortland Cupboard, located in the basement of the Interfaith Center at 7 Calvert St.
The unit will have a clear glass door for easy viewing of the food stored within.
“With this new fridge, we will be able to offer fresh foods,” said Lauren Scagnelli ’12, M ’14, the chair of the cupboard’s board of directors and health educator on campus.
She acts as an advocate for students concerning any issues regarding personal health and health care.
Pantry management hopes to have the refrigerator in place by the fall.
“We have only offered non-perishable foods since we opened in November 2017 so this gives us a new opportunity,” Scagnelli said.
Adding refrigeration to the SUNY Cortland Cupboard also will help the university promote healthy food choices.
“From a balanced diet perspective, it would be great for us to be able to provide fresh produce, meats, dairy products or other proteins like eggs,” Scagnelli said. “Ideally, we can also get feedback from students on what refrigerated items they will use.”
The availability of cold fresh food may attract more students who lack sufficient food to find out about the pantry services.
“We are still working on creative ways to reach our students, particularly off-campus students,” she said. “We know there are more students facing food insecurity than those that utilize the cupboard. We hope to keep spreading the word so anyone can get the assistance they need to thrive.”
Cupboard managers are developing a policy for handling refrigerated goods.
The proposal would require that:
Jacob Eckhaus, a SUNY Student Voice Action Committee member and Binghamton University student, first raised the food refrigeration issue, according to Malatras.
“Food insecurity is all too prevalent across our nation and made worse by the pandemic,” Malatras said.
“Our students are not immune,” he said. “It is proof of the inequalities that exist on our campuses. And, as we are optimistic about their return to in-person classes next fall, we have to make sure campus food pantries continue to have sustainable and reliable resources for more students.”
In the second round, SUNY refrigeration grantees also included Canton, Erie Community College, Maritime, Monroe, Niagara and Sullivan.
Pantry hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students who use the SUNY Cortland Cupboard must swipe their student I.D. to enter the building. Only one person is allowed to visit the pantry at a time due to health measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information contact Scagnelli.
Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Jenna Donofrio