New committee surveys food woes

Chloe Gerathy

In efforts to gauge hunger in students on campus, a committee has formed to help assess the need to provide support for students who can’t afford to feed themselves.

The Associated Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU) have created a Food Insecurity Committee to begin the creation of a food bank for NMU students.

The first move of the committee was releasing a campus-wide survey to see if the results could establish a need for such an amenity, then the committee will move to make plans for some sort of food bank or pantry. Some things yet to be worked out include a suitable location and a distribution process.

Connor Loftus, ASNMU vice president, formed the Food Insecurity Committee with the help of Dean of Students Christine Greer. The committee currently has nine members, some of whom are
ASNMU members. Loftus said the survey took two meetings to put together. The first meeting discussed what was important to ask to have a clear picture about what the need on campus was.

During the second meeting, committee member Rhea Dever revealed the survey she constructed and the committee discussed a few more changes before it was finalized.

“From there we discussed the beginning and end dates and how we would advertise the survey,” Loftus said.

If the project moves forward, ASNMU plans to see it finished by fundraising and hosting food drives to help stock the food bank. Since the Food Insecurity Committee is still in its planning phase, there is no estimated date for the food bank opening.

In the past, this committee has cited Michigan Tech’s plan as their inspiration. The committee said while they are still using that model as an idea of what they could do here on campus, they will be creating something unique to the needs of NMU students.

“The biggest hurdle will be making sure we have all the logistics worked out before we launch it,” Loftus said. “When we dig deep down into the details of the day-to-day aspects of running this, it becomes tedious. We want to make sure we can run this effectively and efficiently right from the start.”

When asked if they plan to partner with any local businesses or organizations, Loftus said the option has been discussed and is a real possibility, adding, “But we have a little ways to go before we are able to reach out to anyone with concrete plans.”

Plans to release survey results to the public will be decided at the next ASNMU meeting. It has already been agreed upon that the results will be shared but when and by what method has not been determined.

Loftus said this project is important to those working on the committee because many members know of people on campus that have been or are currently being affected by food insecurity.

“All the members of this committee are very dedicated to ensuring that [students, faculty and staff] are able to have food in their stomachs at the end of the day,” he said.