The Hoya Hub, an on-campus pantry offering free, non-perishable food items to members of the Georgetown community, opened Monday in the Leavey Center as part of a Georgetown University Student Association initiative to combat food insecurity.
Located in a room on the fourth floor of Leavey, the project aims to address students’ concerns over food inaccessibility on campus, which were raised by a 2016 GUSA survey. Plans to open the food pantry were announced last month, The Hoya reported.
Hoya Hub Vice Chair Madison Álvarez (SFS ’21) highlighted the need for students to have access to free and low-cost food on Georgetown’s campus.
“Within hours of our opening, we had students signing up for this resource, and the space appears to already have been used in its first twenty-four hours,” Álvarez wrote in an email to The Hoya.
As more people use the food pantry, the team hopes to obtain data that will show the extent of inaccessibility to food and help explain why hunger exists on Georgetown’s campus.
The launch of the pantry has been an ongoing collaboration between student organizations, project advisors and administrators, Hoya Hub Chair Caroline Barnes (COL ’19) said in an interview with The Hoya.
“This has been a decade of conversations of students at Georgetown working to get this off the ground, and the past ten months have been some of the most incredible months of my life,” Barnes said.
The Hoya Hub is funded by donations, which can be made on the Saxa Fund website, Vice Chair Sam Dubke (SFS ’21) said.
“For World Food Day, we’re going to try to do a roundtable discussion, bringing together alums who are involved in food justice, as well as professors, admins and students,” Dubke said in an interview with The Hoya.
The next step for the project is to raise awareness and support for the project, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement Erika Cohen Derr, an adviser to the project, said.
“At this point, our main priority is to help raise awareness that the Hoya Hub exists and is a resource for those who may need it,” Cohen Derr wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The food pantry is one aspect of a larger university effort to address food insecurity on campus.”
The Hoya Hub student organizers are hopeful that the project will evolve into a space for programming and discussions about food insecurity, which will help eliminate the stigma surrounding food insecurity on campus, Barnes said.
“We would want to do some chef demos, also getting health services involved, so looking at the nutritional educational aspect of it, and just educating everyone about this issue,” Barnes said in an interview with The Hoya.
While the Hoya Hub currently offers nonperishable foods only, the team expressed its hopes for expanding the food pantry to include a refrigerator and a freezer in the future, in addition to having a larger space for various types of food.
The opening of the Hoya Hub has crossed what may be the biggest hurdle to food security on campus and has given way to more attempts to raise awareness for this issue, Álvarez said.
“We are coordinating with other student advocates to address the broader issues of socioeconomic inequality, poverty, sustainability, and food waste that contribute to hunger at Georgetown,” Álvarez said.