Event Celebrates the Relaunch of U-ACCESS Program
As part of its commitment to support students inside and outside the classroom, UMass Boston has opened a new expanded food pantry to serve those who are experiencing food insecurity. The university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today and gave tours of the new space to students, faculty, staff, and donors.
Opening the 140-square-foot pantry is a big step for the university’s Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services (U-ACCESS); the pantry originally began as a modest office cabinet. The food pantry provides students with nonperishable food items, toiletries, women’s hygiene products, and other supplies.
Roughly 27 percent of UMass Boston students—more than 4,500—have had to skip meals, worried about having enough money for food, or been unable to eat a balanced diet. The food pantry assisted 148 students last year.
Studies have shown food insecurity can also have a negative effect on academic performance.
“Food insecurity has a direct impact on student success,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail DiSabatino. “Students should never have to choose between purchasing a textbook and buying groceries. Student Affairs and U-ACCESS are working to provide our students with as much support on campus as we can to ensure their success.”
The food pantry expansion is part of a relaunch of U-ACCESS. A national innovator in care for economically disadvantaged students, the office has added new services and staff, and forged a new partnership. Since 2012, U-ACCESS has provided critical support to UMass Boston students who are at risk for academic derailment due to temporary homelessness and food insecurity.
This fall, U-ACCESS is partnering with Single Stop, a national nonprofit organization that helps provide a “one-stop shop” for nonacademic wraparound services, connecting students to public benefits, including SNAP, and other community resources to help ensure they have the support they need to persist and graduate.
“U-ACCESS’s expansion will transform lives — helping students to graduate, develop necessary skills, and contribute to their communities,” said Interim Chancellor Barry Mills.
The U-ACCESS food pantry is open 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and by appointment. Food and toiletries are needed all year round to keep the pantry operating. Items can be brought to the U-ACCESS office in the Campus Center, 2nd Floor, Suite 2401, and donations can be made on the UMass Boston website.
About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.