President Mary Cullinan: Working to solve food insecurity


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EWU President Mary Cullinan

By Mary Cullinan, Guest columnist

Mary Cullinan is the EWU president. Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Easterner or its staff members.

As we head toward June commencement ceremonies, we’ve been recognizing students’ accomplishments at numerous ceremonies and celebrating the achievements of the past year. However, even in this time of celebration, EWU students face personal challenges. Significant numbers of students have run through their food plan or their savings for the year. They’re worried about their next meal.

Food insecurity is a significant and heartbreaking problem on campuses all over the country. Studies show that somewhere between 20% and 60% of college students aren’t sure where their next meal will come from. One study showed that more than half of all first-generation college students are food insecure.

In a wealthy nation like ours, this situation is shocking and appalling.

Here at EWU, we’re tackling this problem in a number of ways. With the assistance of Brian Davenport and the Office of Community Engagement, we’ve located seven food cabinets around campus. They’re not locked: if you need food, please take some. Don’t be embarrassed. Food is essential to everyone’s health and well-being.

We’re working with community partners to ensure that students don’t incur the cost for food pantries. We’re very grateful to the Dairy Farmers of Washington for their help. And our partnership with Pepsi is providing $5,000 per year to help stock the pantries.

In the fall, we plan to have a refrigerated pantry that will offer dairy and other perishable items. This summer, also, the President’s Office will initiate a campus food drive to help keep the pantries well stocked.

We want our students to be healthy and strong. Everyone needs help sometimes, and no one should have to go it alone. If you need assistance, please ask. If you know someone who needs help, please offer to help. You can find campus food pantry locations and get answers to frequently asked questions at

We at Eastern pride ourselves on being the Eagle Family. Working together, we can help solve this serious issue on our campuses.