An effort at Nicolet College to help students during the partial government shutdown has caught on.
Because many Nicolet students receive some sort of government food assistance, they were out of luck while the argument continued in Washington, D.C.
Nicolet College Student Engagement and Career Development coach Sara Tienhaara says the pantries are located in all six academic buildings...
"..We do have a cafe here on campus, otherwise there are vending machines, but all of those have a cost. These snack pantries are a free resource for students who might be struggling. When the government shutdown happened, there were a lot of students that received food stamps in the area and they might not have access to those moving forward. So this was meant to fill a need for people on-demand on campus to get them through. We had a thought that a lot of students aren't going to be focused on their studies if they're hungry...."
The pantries are filled with mixed nuts, dried fruits, beef jerky, ready-to-eat tuna and the like, high-protein snacks are designed to provide sustenance to students while they are on campus.
Sara Tienhaara says the program rolled out about a week ago..
"I already have three buildings of the six that have depleted their supplies. So good or bad, however you want to look at it, our students clearly have the need. I've had to restock three of the buildings already..."
Along with healthy snacks to get them through the day, each Snack Pantry also has resource information about the many community organizations that exist to assist those in need. Tienhaara stressed that this new service at Nicolet, paid for with student activity fees, is not intended to function as a food pantry. She says her goal is to see things improve enough to have the on-campus pantries go away.