By Celina Daigle
On Friday, February 21st, hundreds of students, ranging from freshman to seniors, waited in line for “free” food brought to the student body by the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the UConn Storrs chapter of the Public Interest Research Group (UConnPIRG).
Project Lead on USG’s Task Force and Food Insecurity for USG Ethan Werstler explained that food insecurity is a problem on campus.
“We felt that administration and whoever else, there was a hole in terms of service, and we wanted to fill that hole.”
The first of hopefully many food pantries was held at the Student Union, and every other week the two organizations will work alongside one another to fund and provide snacks and paper goods for the student body.
The first Husky Market gave away about $2,000 worth of food, and Werstler hopes that in the future, the food supply will be increased to well over $3,000 to $4,000 spending cash. The funding was taken directly from USG, by essentially using student fee money in order to pay it directly back to the students, said Werstler.
Food ranging from oatmeal, to fruit cups, to even paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels.There were well over 300 students waiting their turn to grab snacks, causing the line to wrap throughout the Union and past the Dairy Bar Too.
Some of the very first students in line arrived an hour in advance, just to ensure they got first pick on any goodies that appealed to them in the Husky Market.
Others in line expressed that they heard of the opening of Husky Market by seeing it written in chalk on the sidewalks, hearing it by word of mouth from friends, reading about it in the UConn’s Daily Digest, seeing posts on Facebook’s UConn Buy or Sell or even by glancing at flyers hung around campus in academic buildings.
Junior Allison Mayne expressed her gratitude towards the initiative.
“I think that the initiative is actually really smart to try and tackle food insecurity. And I think that it’s really great that it’s a student run program,” she said. “I hope to see it succeed, honestly.”
Mayne explained that since she lives in an apartment, this was a great resource to get basic household supplies and small snacks to keep up with keeping her apartment clean and tidy, and ensure good health, without spending a lot of money out of pocket.
Senior Juan Pablomesa, expressed that he really liked the idea of the USG giving back to the students.
“It’s rough out here, you know, especially like as a student? You don’t have that much time to work. Money is definitely an issue, and groceries become expensive. This is good.”