Pictured from left: Assistant Provost for Student Engagement and Development Tiffani Blake, Long Island Student Government Association President Anoushka Guha, President Hank Foley, and Community Relations Manager for Stop & Shop Stefanie Shuman cut the ribbon at the opening of the Grizzly Cupboard on the Long Island campus.
On October 22, the New York Tech community celebrated the grand opening of the Grizzly Cupboard, the university’s inclusive and confidential on-campus resource offering free, wholesome, and healthy nonperishable food items to students. Ceremonies taking place on the Long Island and New York City campuses included representatives from Stop & Shop as well as government officials and local media outlets.
“We want to ensure that there is a place for every student to learn and grow—and this is based on our mission to offer access to opportunity to all students,” said New York Tech President Hank Foley, Ph.D. at the Long Island opening in the Student Activity Center. “Our promise to students is to provide an outstanding experience that empowers them to change the world, to solve 21st-century challenges, and to reinvent the future. We are grateful for the collaboration of so many and the generosity of partners on behalf of our students.”
To support the university’s goal, Stop & Shop, which has a longstanding history of giving back to the neighborhoods it serves with a focus on fighting hunger, has donated $10,000 in gift cards to New York Tech to purchase food items to stock pantry shelves. The supermarket chain’s location in Greenvale, N.Y., less than a mile from New York Tech’s Long Island campus, is also placing a bin onsite so that shoppers can contribute items to the Grizzly Cupboard.
“Stop & Shop is proud to support the efforts of New York Institute of Technology. No student should have to choose between food and an education,” said Stefanie Shuman, community relations manager for Stop & Shop. “Some college students are worried about where their next meal will come from, and we want to help them to instead be able to focus on learning. This food pantry will allow New York Tech to help students succeed in the classroom.”
“We are grateful to Stop & Shop for its partnership and sense of community, as it will require a collaborative effort to help address the societal need and resolve the problem of food insecurity,” said New York Tech Assistant Provost for Student Engagement and Development Tiffani Blake, M.S., M.Ed.
From left: Connie Fitzgerald, director of Partnerships at Invisible Hands Deliver, Inc., Black Student Union President and Grizzly Cupboard volunteer Sidpasamde Tiendrebeogo, Provost Junius Gonzales, and Assemblyperson Linda Rosenthal celebrate the opening of the Grizzly Cupboard on the New York City campus.
In New York City, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Junius Gonzales, M.D., M.B.A., and Dean of Students Felipe Henao, Ed.D., were joined by New York State Assemblyperson Linda Rosenthal, among other community members and students.
“Addressing and supporting food insecurity among our students will aid in positive student success outcomes. Students should not experience hunger,” said Henao. “We look forward to continuing to grow our support for basic needs and working with local officials to address the systemic issue.”
The two Grizzly Cupboard locations are part of the Bear Bytes initiative, which provides students with food as well as health and wellness resources and information. Bear Bytes is a collaborative effort among partners including Stop & Shop and New York Tech’s own Campus Dining, School of Management Student Advisory Board, and a committee whose members include nutrition experts from the School of Health Professions, among others.
Bear Bytes and the School of Health Professions received a $5,000 National Association of College Auxiliary Services grant in September to support a community garden on the Long Island campus, which will provide fruits and vegetables to students through the Grizzly Cupboard.
In addition, the Grizzly Cupboard accepts donations of non-perishable and microwaveable food, snacks, pet food, and other items through its Amazon and Target wish lists as well as products that community members drop off at either campus location for distribution to students.
“A healthy lifestyle, including access to food and wellness resources and education in a stigma-free environment, is essential for students to reach their highest personal and academic potential,” said Blake.