The School of General Studies has announced a commitment to give $50,000 to The Food Pantry over the next five years. The news arrives two days after the announcement of a partnership between Columbia Dining and Swipe Out Hunger, providing TFP with $5,000 in annual funding.
TFP, a student-run service based on the fifth floor of Lerner Hall, provides free, nonperishable food disbursements to students and non-student affiliates in need. Officially recognized in December 2016, it receives food from Food Bank For New York City and Corbin Hill Food Project at a discounted or low cost. TFP has received donations from individuals, individual schools, and all four undergraduate student councils, but this donation is the largest commitment to date.
General Studies conducted a survey last spring revealing nearly 40 percent of non-joint/dual undergraduates at the school experience very low or low food security. Data collected by TFP shows that while General Studies students have received the most disbursements of any school, food insecurity affects nearly every school at the University.
In the announcement, Dean of General Studies Lisa Rosen-Metsch acknowledged the presence of food insecurity on campus and voiced her commitment to support students in need.
“We at GS recognize that food insecurity is a real problem on college campuses nationwide, including here at Columbia, and are committed to developing initiatives that support students in need. We are excited about our collaboration with The Food Pantry, which will help enable the organization to further expand the great work it has already been doing to provide increased access to food for all University students,” Rosen-Metsch said.
Matthew Linsky, GS ’20, the vice chair of events coordination for TFP, commended Rosen-Metsch and the advocacy of student leaders for their leadership in tackling food insecurity.
“Not only does this contribution ensure the short-term future of The Food Pantry at Columbia, but it proves that our administration understands the unique financial issues faced by GS students. Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch isn’t just talking the talk. Alongside effective advocacy from GSSC … our dean is leading the charge,” Linsky said.
Other resources available to students include six emergency meal swipes per semester provided by Columbia Dining—which have historically been highly utilized by General Studies students—and a General Studies-specific educational assistance stipend.