Aims Community College was recently named a Hunger Free Campus by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). The Hunger Free Campus designation provides statewide recognition for institutions that demonstrate a collective effort across students, staff, faculty and community to raise awareness and assistance for student food insecurity.
Aims Community College Designated as a Hunger-Free Campus
To receive this designation, Aims fulfilled criteria on the CDHE’s Hunger Free Campus Checklist. This includes offering programs that provide direct food assistance, educational initiatives about hunger, and services that address barriers to basic needs that impact student food security.
Some initiatives that Aims has implemented include a monthly on-campus visit from the Weld Food Bank Farms to Families fresh food truck, cooking demonstrations and nutrition workshops. This spring, a group began planning an on-campus community garden.
One of the most substantial ways Aims has addressed student hunger is through Arty's Pantry, an on-campus food and supply pantry. It provides any enrolled Aims student with groceries, personal hygiene products and school supplies, no questions asked. Aims staff and faculty, community members and grants fund Arty's Pantry, and since 2018 the pantry has served more than 860 students in more than 4,600 visits.
“The Hunger Free Campus designation doesn’t mean that we’ve reached the pinnacle of addressing food insecurity at the college,” said Aims Dean of Students Shannon McCasland. “It does mean that we are 100 percent committed and have focused efforts to fight hunger at Aims.”
Food insecurity, defined as “the condition of limited or uncertain access to food,” impacts more than 45 percent of college students in America. “Hungry students cannot learn at the same level as others,” McCasland said. “Our work is to help students fill their bodies while filling their minds.”
The pantry team shared a student’s story with McCasland that brought the importance of this program to light. “A female student was taking classes at Aims for ten years. Financial difficulties prevented her from completing classes every semester. She attributed Arty’s Pantry to her success this school year.” McCasland is happy to report that the student “walked across the stage in her cap and gown this month.”
To learn more about Arty's Pantry please visit, aims.edu/departments/student-life/artys-pantry.
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