Students Feeding Students

The Open Seat addresses food insecurity on campus.

Student selects food from a refrigerator

The Open Seat was assisting more than 1,500 students and their dependents before the pandemic. Courtesy of Open Seat

A growing issue on college campuses across the country, food and resource insecurity can contribute to isolation, anxiety, and damaging academic consequences. The Open Seat, sponsored by the Associated Students of Madison, is a student-run food pantry that focuses on reducing the number of Badgers facing this challenge. Students can use their Wiscards to receive up to $30 in groceries and personal care supplies each week. Through a partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the food pantry is able to purchase hundreds of pounds of items — fresh, canned, and nonperishable — each month at relatively low cost.

Created in February 2016, the Open Seat was assisting more than 1,500 students and their dependents in the period leading up to the close of campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no student background or financial checks, and 100 percent of all donations go directly to purchasing items to restock the pantry. With 19 donation sites across campus, this benefit helps students thrive inside and outside the classroom, ensuring that all Badgers have the food and resources they deserve.

Published in the Summer 2020 issue

Tags: Food, Public service, Student life, Students

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