Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is part of the inaugural class of Hunger-Free Campuses after the Board of Regents approved the designation on August 23; FranU joins over 30 other institutions across Louisiana with the designation.
Act 719 of the 2022 Regular Legislative Session, sponsored by Baton Rouge State Representative Barbara Freiberg, established criteria for Louisiana higher education institutions to earn a hunger-free campus designation and authorized the Hunger-Free Campus competitive grant program to support the institutions in their efforts.
FranU’s food pantry was started over 10 years ago because an SGA student leader saw there was a need among her classmates. The pantry serves FranU students in need, providing non-perishable foods, baby formula, school supplies and hygiene products. It’s also recently expanded to include shelf-stable fruits and vegetables.
"I am proud to see the tremendous campus response to this designation, which signals both their understanding of the problem and their commitment to address it,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “The idea that college students don’t have access to food is a reality that many people are not aware of. We aim to successfully address this barrier to student wellness and academic success.”
A 2020 national study indicated that approximately 29% of students at four-year colleges and 38% at two-year institutions experience food insecurity. The numbers for students of color are even higher.
“As a Catholic and Franciscan university, it was natural for us to apply for and receive this recognition, as both Jesus and Francis of Assisi set an example of feeding the hungry. We are proud to be recognized for the efforts of faculty, staff, and students to make sure that all of our students, and sometimes the children of our students, can focus on their education instead of wondering where their next meal might come from. We have been serving our students this way for years and are grateful to be among other campuses who are members of this important program," said Dr. Tina Holland, FranU president.
Act 719 established very specific criteria for campuses to receive the Hunger-Free Campus designation, requiring them to do all of the following: Establish a Hunger-Free Task Force; Inform students who receive need-based financial aid of their potential eligibility to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; Hold or participate in at least one anti-hunger awareness event per academic year; Assess the need to provide access to on-campus food distribution, a local off-campus food pantry, or an on-campus food pantry; Submit information on where the campus food pantry resides and contact information for the food pantry representative responsible for the management of campus food pantry efforts; and Provide a summary of campus efforts in the following areas: Hunger-Free Campus Task Force, SNAP benefits communication informing students of potential eligibility, Anti-Hunger campus event, and access to charitable food distribution on your campus(es) or local community food pantry.
FranU’s food pantry is located on the second floor of St. Francis Hall. Please visit franu.edu/foodpantry if you wish to donate needed items.