The College of Southern Nevada opened three new food pantries on its campuses this semester to help combat food insecurity, which can be an insurmountable barrier for students trying to complete their degree.
A grant totaling $300,000 from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension helped CSN establish the pantries, which will be operated in cooperation with Three Square Food Bank and the CSN student government.
“The Coyote Cupboards are an outcome of CSN’s commitment to placing students first,” said Brian Akins, CSN director of Student Life and Leadership Development. “This grant will help us lower the number of CSN students who experience food insecurity, which is far too high.”
National surveys have shown that more than one-third of college students are food insecure, which the USDA defines as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Almost half of CSN students surveyed last year reported that they couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals “often” or “sometimes.”
Research from Complete College America has shown that combatting non-academic barriers like food insecurity can help a greater number of students complete their college education.
The Coyote Cupboards food pantries are located inside CSN’s three new student unions on each campus and are open to any current CSN student. Students may come as often as necessary and will not have to prove that they need help. It is estimated that as many as 7,000 students – about 20 percent of CSN’s student body – will access the pantries this school year. In addition, as many as 5,000 students are expected to access Fresh Food Farmer’s Markets held at the pantries on alternating Fridays.