STCC awarded $180,000 for hunger-free campus initiative
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield Technical Community College received a $180,000 state grant to help students facing food insecurity.
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded a multi-year Hunger Free Campus Initiative grant award for fiscal 2023-2024.
“We want to thank you for your commitment to increasing access to academic opportunities for students of color and students experiencing food insecurity,” Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn E. Polito stated in a letter to STCC President John B. Cook.
“Your commitment to transform higher education institutional cultures to center equity-minded support services for students is commendable, particularly as the Commonwealth engages in post-COVID efforts to both retain and prepare our future workforce,” Baker and Polito said in the letter.
The Hunger Free Campus Initiative – a grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – is intended to support college students who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce barriers of success.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the need to address hunger and food security has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased inflation
The Hunger Free Campus Initiative makes funding available to campuses to increase their capacity to develop or improve upon food security programming.
In October, Cook was among the 15 Massachusetts community college presidents who urged state legislators to support establishing into law the Hunger Free Campus Initiative.
By directly targeting food insecurity, we are helping our most vulnerable students meet their basic needs which helps them continue studying at STCC and moving closer to their goal of graduating.John B. Cook, STCC President
The presidents wrote, “As we move beyond the pandemic, we have a shared commitment to ensure that our students are well-trained and ready to contribute to the workforce after graduation. But, with the high cost of living in Massachusetts, including the increasing cost of food, many of our students find themselves without adequate access to food as they try to complete their education. We also know that food insecurity on many of our campuses disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ students. Our students should not have to choose between food and their textbooks or rent, nor can they learn successfully if their basic needs are not met.”
“We are thrilled and grateful to receive this grant from the Baker Administration,” Cook said. “By directly targeting food insecurity, we are helping our most vulnerable students meet their basic needs which helps them continue studying at STCC and moving closer to their goal of graduating.”
STCC – the only technical community college in Massachusetts – is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution. About 30 percent of the student body are Latino, Latina or Latinx.
STCC is committed to supporting students both in and outside of the classroom. Located on the STCC campus, the Center for Access Services (CAS) provides STCC students with a broad range of non-academic supports. CAS is dedicated to helping students overcome non-academic barriers impacting their ability to stay in school with the goal of increasing self-sufficiency.
“This grant will strengthen our program and enhance our efforts to provide groceries and meals to students facing food insecurity,” said Jose Lopez-Figueroa, director of CAS.
The Center for Access Services offers food assistance to students in need of help as well as other support to help them overcome challenges which include but are not limited to:
- Financial challenges
- Substance abuse
- Various state and federal benefits
The Center for Access Services on campus includes a “RAM Mini Mart,” which is a food pantry offering groceries, personal hygiene products, and other basic household necessities.
Interested in applying to STCC? Visit stcc.edu/apply or call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.
About Springfield Technical Community College
STCC, the Commonwealth's only technical community college, continues the pioneering legacy of the Springfield Armory with comprehensive and technical education in manufacturing, STEM, healthcare, business, social services, and the liberal arts. STCC's highly regarded workforce, certificate, degree, and transfer programs are the most affordable in Springfield and provide unequaled opportunity for the vitality of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1967, the college – a designated Hispanic Serving Institution – seeks to close achievement gaps among students who traditionally face societal barriers. STCC supports students as they transform their lives through intellectual, cultural, and economic engagement while becoming thoughtful, committed and socially responsible graduates.
Jim Danko, (413) 755-4812, email@example.com