2019 CHESC Best Practice Award: Miramar Food Pantry

February 7, 2020
HDAE's Resource in the Fight Against Food Insecurity Wins Award
Each summer, the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) is held at UCSB, welcoming hundreds of participants from colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions across the state to share breakthroughs in sustainability, innovation, new programs, and best practices. Over the course of several days, conferees attend panels, workshops, and presentations such as “Pathways to Zero Net Energy Campuses” and “Achieving Sustainable Parking.” Many of UCSB’s faculty, staff, and students spoke at the conference, including Residential Dining’s Danielle Kemp, Dietitian, Purchasing, and Systems Manager, and Robbie Wright, Associate Director of Residential Dining. During the 2019 CHESC conference, they presented a talk entitled “Miramar Food Pantry: HDAE’s Commitment to Combat Food Insecurity at UCSB,” for which the pantry received a Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice award.
There are several categories of awards, including Student Sustainability Leadership, Energy Supply, and Sustainability Innovations. The Miramar Food Pantry won its award in the Sustainable Food Service Category. The description of the presentation reads:
The cost to attend college is on the rise nationwide, and UCSB is no different. Students with limited financial resources face difficult choices, which may lead to less nutritious meals. Housing, Dining, & Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) opened the new Miramar Food Pantry to address this issue on October 1, 2018. Fully funded by HDAE, the pantry, located at Sierra Madre Villages, offers free food items in a large open space with cold storage bins, making it possible to offer fresh produce. Food selections focus on healthy options and visitors can expect a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as staple items. Even with limited marketing, the pantry welcomes 800 registrants with an average of 229 visits per week while feeding an average of 317 individuals per week.
At the time of the award, 48% of undergraduate students and 31% of graduate students surveyed within the UC system were found to be food insecure. These percentages include all UCs, and nationally, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger. As this is a UC-wide experience, the Miramar Pantry model could be implemented at other locations. Says Danielle, “Our students shouldn’t have to choose between food and education. Healthy bodies and minds require a nutritious meal no matter the age. The era of Cup of Noodles and mac and cheese are of the past. HDAE is a leader on our campus community in addressing food security. The Miramar Food Pantry provides fresh and staple items to our student population.”
Miramar Pantry’s Best Practice award is proudly hanging on the wall of the pantry if you’d like to see it for yourself. Open to UCSB students living in university-owned apartments, family student housing, Isla Vista, and students living on campus, the pantry is open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 4-7pm during the academic year. We look forward to the continued efforts that Campus Dining and HDAE make to combat food insecurity for our campus community!
By Becky Hoffman