As part of next week’s National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, UT will host events to bring awareness to these two pressing issues.
Founded in 1975 at Villanova University, the national event is held at more than 700 locations nationwide each year to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Participating groups spend the week holding a series of educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events.
This is the first year that UT is marking the week with a series of special events. Groups involved include the Student Government Association (SGA), the Office of the Dean of Students, the United Residence Hall Council (URHC), the Department of Nutrition, the College of Social Work, UT Recycling, and the Office of the Provost.
Monday, November 12: Food Drive and Information Table from noon to 2 p.m. on the second floor of Hodges Library. SGA will collect donations for Smokey’s Pantry during this event. The pantry is in need of peanut butter, jelly, canned beans, canned meat, and canned vegetables. Items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap are also needed. Members will also be on hand sharing information regarding hunger and homelessness.
Wednesday, November 14: Hunger on Our Campus Seminar at 4 p.m. in Art & Architecture Building Room 113. Betsy Anderson Steeves, professor in the Department of Nutrition, will give a lecture about how food insecurity impacts students. The event is being held in partnership the Issues Committee, SGA, Vols 2 Vols Peer Health Educators, and the national Swipe Out Hunger program.
Friday, November 16: Hunger and Homelessness Summit from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Haslam Business Building. Hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students, the summit looks to connect campus partners regarding issues of hunger and homelessness, forge partnerships, and create sustainable change to better serve the campus and community. The summit will include a featured speaker, topical breakout sessions, and a community resources exposition.
Saturday, November 17: SGA and URHC will partner for the All Vol Tailgate Food Drive from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Humanities and Social Sciences Building Amphitheater. The tailgate will be part of the pregame festivities before the football Vols’ matchup with the University of Missouri at 3:30 p.m.
All Week: Smokey’s Pantry donation drop-off bin locations will be placed at all campus residence front desks and on the second floor of Hodges Library across from Starbucks. This is a partnership between SGA and URHC.
As the topics of hunger and homelessness continue to be discussed on a national level, the university continues to work to provide assistance to students who face these issues. Among the campus’s initiatives:
Big Orange Meal Share: This program allows students to donate unused guest meals to students in need. This is a partnership between the Office of the Dean of Students, New Student and Family Programs, SGA and Volunteer Dining.
Smokey’s Pantry: The pantry serves students, faculty, and staff who are in need of groceries and hygiene products. The pantry is a collaboration between SGA and the Tyson House campus ministry with support from the Division of Student Life and Office of Sustainability.
Smokey’s Closet: The closet provides free, gently used professional clothing and accessories to students. The closet is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. The closet is a partnership between the Center for Career Development and SGA.
Grow Lab: UT Recycling opened the Grow Lab earlier this semester. The campus garden serves as an outdoor classroom and hub for community engagement while working to address local food insecurity. The garden’s harvest is donated to Smokey’s Pantry to provide free nutritious food for students.
Free Store: The UT Recycling Free Store is a series of pop-ups on campus that provides donated items to campus community members. The store accepts clothing, accessories, shoes, school supplies, bedding, craft supplies, kitchen items, games, toys, and unopened cosmetics. The store aims to reduce the number of items still in good condition from heading to a landfill or recycling.