November 16–24 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. UT will participate in the week, hosting several events to raise awareness about resources on campus that help combat food insecurity and meet the needs of students.
This week’s efforts have been organized by UT’s Swipe Out Hunger chapter, a student organization working with a national nonprofit dedicated to eradicating food insecurity on college campuses. Other partners include the Office of the Dean of Students, the Center for Global Engagement, the Office of Sustainability, Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law and Government Fraternity, the Professional Greek Council, the Food Recovery Network, and Rotaract Club.
“These issues can be hard to see or understand at times, so it’s important to inform our community about resources that are available to students who may be experiencing these basic needs insecurities,” said Owen Flomberg, president of UT’s chapter of Swipe Out Hunger.
Friday, November 15: Rachel Sumekh, founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger, came to campus to speak on her leading nonprofit organization and hunger among college students.
Wednesday, November 20: The film Faces of Hunger will be shown at 6 p.m. in Student Union Tiered Seminar Room 169. It was created by the Palms for Life Fund, an NYC-based nonprofit that works globally with other organizations to provide access to food, water, education, and sanitation.
Thursday, November 21: UT Public Health Assistant Professor Betsy Anderson Steeves will give a lecture on food insecurity and her research at 3 p.m. in the Student Union Tiered Seminar Room 169.
A Hunger and Homelessness Summit hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students will cap off the week on Friday, November 22. The goal of the summit is to connect campus and community partners regarding issues of hunger and homelessness on college campuses.
Featured speakers include Larry Roper, a professor and coordinator of college student services at Oregon State University, and Sarah Henson, a nutrition advocate with the Tennessee Justice Center. Attendees will participate in topical breakout sessions, a large group discussion, and an interactive panel of content experts to discuss issues of hunger and homelessness at UT and for college students across the state and country.
Abigail Brumfield, coordinator with the Office of the Dean of Students, organized the summit hoping to raise the level of consciousness across campus about food insecurity and challenges many students face.
“UT is an access-based institution and we know many of our students overcame challenges to get here,” she said.
UT has various campus resources already in place to assist students dealing with food insecurity.
Big Orange Meal Share is a short-term assistance program that can allocate meals to students in need. Students can apply to receive meals through the Office of the Dean of Students. Meals are added to the student’s VolCard and can be used at any all-you-can-eat dining facility, Presidential Court Café, Southern Kitchen, or Fresh Food Company in Stokely Hall during regular business hours. Contact the Office of the Dean of Students, email@example.com or 865-974-3179, to learn more.
Smokey’s Pantry is an accessible food pantry located at the Tyson House Campus Ministry, 824 Melrose Place. The food pantry is an effort to help address food insecurity among students, faculty, and staff, providing free groceries, fresh produce, and hygiene products. Everyone is welcome at Smokey’s Pantry, and no qualifying information is required to receive food. Smokey’s Pantry is operated with the help of FISH Hospitality Pantries and campus partners including the Office of the Dean of Students, the Student Government Association, the UT Grow Lab, UT Recycling, and others. Open hours are every Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. Contact Caitlynne Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Grow Lab is a new campus garden located at 2019 Terrace Avenue (between 21st Street and Montcastle Street). The living laboratory is a place where students, faculty, staff, and Knoxville citizens can participate in hands-on learning, engage in meaningful service, conduct research, and cultivate community. The Grow Lab helps address local food insecurity while demonstrating ecological food production methods. Half of the plots are designated for specific academic courses, research, and university groups. Staff and volunteers maintain the remaining plots and donate produce to hunger-alleviating initiatives, including Smokey’s Pantry. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Related resources are available to students:
Smokey’s Closet provides free gently used professional clothing and accessories to students at UT. The closet is run by the Center for Career Development and the Student Government Association. Open hours for fall semester are from noon to 4 p.m. every Friday through November 22 in Greve Hall Rooms G2 and G6. Spring semester hours will be posted after winter break. If these hours are not convenient, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
The UT Recycling Free Store allows students to shop for free high-quality lightly used clothing, kitchenware, accessories, and small appliances at regularly scheduled Free Store pop-up events held throughout the academic year. Items at the Free Store are donated by students and members of the community as an alternative to throwing used clothes and other items in the landfill. Pop-up dates, times, and locations are shared through the Instagram account @sustainableut. The Free Store is directed by the Office of Sustainability. For more information, contact Leah McCord at email@example.com.
You can donate to the Free Store at the new permanent donation bin located at the 24/7 Public Recycling Drop-Off at 2121 Stephenson Drive, Dock 24.
Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993, firstname.lastname@example.org)