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With each can of food she places on a shelf, Upper Iowa University senior Caitlin Schauer realizes she is one step closer to helping further ensure all UIU students have ready access to quality, nutritious food on a daily basis. Double majoring in marketing and psychology, Schauer led the effort to create the newly organized Peacock Pantry as part of her psychology program internship. The mission: To eliminate hunger and food insecurity for Fayette Campus students by providing access to food products during break periods, promoting healthy nutrition, and increasing student success by reducing barriers to a complete education.

“I want students to have a source of food on Campus regardless if they lived on or off it,” Schauer said. “Students shouldn’t have to decide between paying for a textbook and eating for the week.”

A Waseca, Minnesota, native, Schauer conducted a survey in February to identify food insecurity at Fayette Campus. Of 61 respondents, 27 students reported experiencing disruptions in food intake due to a lack of funding or other resources, while 37 were aware of another student who shared similar disruptions. Common symptoms that students reported experiencing due to an inadequate food supply included low energy/fatigue, irritable mood, poor concentration, and low sleep quality.

“With the university meal plan being the only regular source of nutritional food for many students, we want the pantry to serve as a general resource of quality food for all students,” UIU senior director of academic success Amy Tucker said. “As part of the Peacock Pantry’s vision, all UIU stakeholders join Caitlin in realizing that we are committed to creating a secure, safe, strong and healthy Peacock community.”

The Peacock Pantry is located on the second floor of the UIU Student Center in Room 209 of the Leadership Center. Students will schedule an appointment online to visit the pantry at calendly.com/PeacockPantry/. Since the Peacock Pantry is run by volunteers, students who do not show up to appointments or are more than 10 minutes late may be asked to make different arrangements. Students needing assistance in making an electronic appointment may stop by the Student Life front desk or email [email protected].

The 2020 Student Philanthropy Council’s (SPC) Crowdfunding Campaign raised over $2,000 for the Pantry. The Crowdfunding Campaign was supported by SPC leaders, the Alumni Office, and Alumni Association board members. Peacocks for Progress student volunteers raised funds to provide shelving, food and other necessities for establishment of the pantry. As a subset of Peacocks for Progress, the Pantry will be additionally supported by UIU Student Life Counseling & Wellness and Academic Success.

Anyone wishing to donate nonperishable items to the Peacock Pantry may email [email protected] or drop items off directly at the Student Life front desk.