The UW System Board of Regents presented the Regents Diversity Award in the team category to the center at its Feb. 8 meeting in Madison.
The purpose of the award is to recognize programs that improve access and success on campus, particularly for historically underrepresented student populations, according to the announcement of the award.
UWM’s Food Center and Pantry was established through an effort led by the Student Association, and supported by the Dean of Students’ office and other campus organizations. Since the pantry opened in the spring semester of 2018, it has served more than 500 students.
“Having an option on campus that is supported by students helps eliminate the stigma and makes it a welcoming space,” said Alyssa Molinski, president of the Student Association.
The center, which is supported by donations and staffed by volunteers, grew out of a 2016 survey of students that showed half had had concerns about where their next meal was coming from during the previous six months, according to Quincy Kissack, assistant director of Student Association Professional Staff and the pantry’s sole staff person. She oversees the operations of the food pantry, including supervision and scheduling of student employees and volunteers.
During off hours, students can get access through the Student Association, dean of students, Inclusive Excellence Center or the university’s LGBT Resource Center.
In addition, the Food Center and Pantry collaborates with Pick ’n Save and the Hunger Task Force to bring fresh, healthy food at discount prices to UWM every month. The pantry also works with community partners to connect students to local food agencies and holds dialogues on campus to spread awareness about food insecurity and ways to combat hunger.
“The UW-Milwaukee Food Center and Pantry program is a great example of what we can accomplish through collaboration,” said Chancellor Mark Mone. “By addressing food insecurity, we are helping promote success for all student populations. I am delighted that our Student Association-led work is getting this well-deserved recognition.”