Chancellor Malatras Announces All SUNY Campus Food Pantries Now Equipped with Refrigeration

May 13, 2021

Final Round of Grants Provided to Campuses by SUNY; Total of $23,000 Awarded to Ensure Students in Need have Access to Refrigerated Food Options

Food Pantries to Stay Open for Students Remaining on Campus for Summer Programs

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that four more SUNY campuses were awarded in a third and final round of grants to purchase food pantry refrigeration. In total, $23,000 has been awarded to campus food pantries previously without necessary refrigeration to store fresh produce, proteins, and dairy options. SUNY food pantries will be available for students remaining on campus for summer programs.

Food refrigeration was the first issue raised by the SUNY Student Voices Action Committee, which was formed by Chancellor Malatras to generate important discussions and solutions to key issues facing students. The committee works closely with the SUNY Student Assembly. Campuses awarded the final refrigeration grants today include: Alfred State, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Suffolk County Community College, and SUNY Old Westbury.

"The pandemic has laid bare the inequities in our society, and because of the crisis, food insecurity is a growing problem for many of our students. With this final round of grant awards, all SUNY campuses can provide access to a wider variety of nutritious foods to their students and store perishable items for a longer period," said Chancellor Malatras. "In order to excel in their studies, our students need assistance removing obstacles, such as hunger and worrying where their next meal will come from. While the ultimate goal is to stomp out food security completely, until that happens, SUNY students should know that we will always be here to help them during their time of need."

SUNY Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Student Advocate Dr. John Graham said, "As we finish up with our final round of refrigeration grants, we know that students throughout our system will have a consistent and stable source of food options on their various campuses. While our campuses have historically provided a wide variety of dry food items in their pantries, there was a great need to be able to offer perishable items, and with them, a more diverse spectrum of nutrients to our students. Although our work to support students who are food insecure is not over, today is a cause for celebration—I thank Chancellor Malatras for working with the Student Voices Action Committee to quickly provide refrigeration options to our campuses, as well as our many campus partners for their continued efforts."

SUNY Old Westbury President Timothy E. Sams said, "We know good nutrition is a part of being able to lead a healthy lifestyle and so it's vital to students' success. When students are well-nourished, they're able to focus better on all aspects of their lives including academics, and therefore, they perform better. We are grateful to SUNY and Chancellor Malatras for this grant, which will allow us to expand the resources our Panther Pantry provides for our campus community."

Wayne J. Riley, M.D., President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, said, "Food insecurity has also become an increasingly pervasive and significant issue across college campus communities—particularly within underrepresented minority student populations. Making healthy food options accessible to our students will enable us to better deliver equitable educational experiences to students in need."

All SUNY students have access to a food pantry on or near campus, and with the final grants all SUNY campus food pantries have refrigeration. Those pantries experienced nearly 320,000 visits in 2019. Since the onset of the pandemic, campuses have experienced a notable increase in food pantry usage.

In addition to expanding food pantry refrigeration on campuses, Chancellor Malatras has established additional programs to get resources and food to students as part of the SUNY for All program. Earlier this year, he announced a partnership with Feeding New York to help approximately three million New Yorkers utilizing regional food banks with a gateway to SUNY's free Online Training Center.

New York's regional Food Banks will help deliver enrollment opportunities and support to the nearly three million New Yorkers currently facing food insecurity. As part of the partnership, SUNY will conduct joint enrollment webinars with food banks on a quarterly basis. Participating regional Food Banks are:

  • City Harvest
  • Feeding Westchester
  • FeedMore Western NY
  • Foodlink
  • Food Bank of Central New York
  • Food Bank of the Southern Tier
  • Island Harvest Food Bank
  • Long Island Cares, Inc.
  • Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY

Earlier this year, Chancellor Malatras announced a SUNY for All Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program enrollment initiative to assist students facing food insecurity within SUNY's free Online Training Center, Education Opportunity Centers, and Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking labs. It is designed to help those who are eligible for benefits, but who—for a wide range of reasons—don't sign up. An internal survey of SUNY students showed that only approximately a quarter of eligible students considered even enrolling in SNAP. The new enrollment initiative was implemented to boost the number of applicants.

In order to be eligible for SUNY's new SNAP enrollment initiative, students must be engaged at least half-time in a career and technical education program, remedial coursework, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language, which are available within SUNY's free Online Training Center, Educational Opportunity Centers, and Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking labs. Previously, these students did not qualify for SNAP assistance, unless they met certain criteria, such as working at least 20 hours per week, or caring for a child, or were unable to work, among others. New York State's new rules allow students to substitute certain coursework for the 20-hour work requirement, greatly opening eligibility to students who are struggling financially.

To learn more about the SUNY for All programs, visit suny.edu/sunyforall.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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