No Bulldog left hungry

Faculty members gather for the fifth annual Flannel Friday fundraising event

Meeting the basic needs of students through the donation of non-perishable items is one way Ferris faculty members are helping the Bulldog Basic Needs Alliance’s cause.

On Friday, Nov. 18, administrative faculty gathered on the third floor of the Timme Center for the fifth Flannel Friday, a fundraising opportunity to give back to organizations supporting students.

Administrative Assistant to the Associate Provost of Academic Affairs Michelle Johnson organized the event in collaboration with the BBNA to collect food donations for the FSU Student Food Pantry.

“We all recognize that there’s a need on campus,” Johnson said. “[Flannel Friday] gives us an opportunity to support our Ferris students in a way that is not commonly talked about or popular. We just are trying to find a way to support our students on campus in a different way.”

According to an article from Drexel University, 20-50% of college students in the U.S. experience food insecurity. The article explains that a few reasons why food insecurity is so high on college campuses is because the cost of a college education is expensive, student loan burdens continue to grow, graduates leave college with more debt than ever and the cost of everything continues to increase, amongst other reasons.

The shared goal of faculty members, the Student Food Pantry and the BBNA is to help students gain access to food and resources before their situation becomes dire.

Ferris faculty members wore their best flannels to gather in the Timme center to discuss the ways the Bulldog Basic Needs Alliance can assist students with food insecurity. Photo by: Meghan Hartley | News Reporter

BBNA Chair Maggie Walcott says the committee officially began in 2020. The pandemic helped the committee start working because it brought many insufficiencies in the community to light.

“Those students who were already struggling with food and housing security really came to the forefront during the pandemic,” Walcott said. “They didn’t have homes to go home to, and when the dining hall closed, they were in a bind, so those were the things that happened that made us say, ‘No, wait a minute… We need to do better as a university.’”

Walcott says when students find themselves in these difficult situations, the goal of the BBNA is to help get those basic needs met by providing housing and a source of nutrition, provided that it is proven the student is truly in need.

“We want what everybody here at Ferris wants,… and that’s to make sure that our students are successful,” Walcott said. “We’re taking students in, we are building them up to be the best employee that they can be. But a problem with that is when a student doesn’t have any idea about when their next meal is going to come or where they may sleep that evening, it’s really hard for them to focus on being successful. I call that the theft of their potential.”

Walcott says they want to help as many students as possible to be successful, but they want to make sure they are taking care of the most vulnerable students first. She says that when a student reaches out to the BBNA, they will first look at the student’s financial aid and meal plan.

From there they will guide the student the best they can, by reminding the students they still have express meal swipes left, directing them to one of the student food pantries on campus or working with housing to see what can be done before the student becomes homeless.

Walcott says the BBNA recently helped an international student, who wishes to remain anonymous, that was in a bad situation and needed something to tide them over. Once the student had received help, they wrote to the BBNA to express their gratitude.

“I would like to thank you and everyone who has played a role in providing me with this help,” the student wrote. “I was kind of losing hope in finding help, and applying to you guys was my last option. Thank you for not letting me down. I am more than grateful to get this. It will help me in many ways. I was very worried, but thanks to you, I now can fully concentrate on my education.”

By the end of Flannel Friday, administrative faculty were able to bring in a dinning-tables worth of non-perishable items, such as granola bars, soup, rice and vegetables to be donated to the Student Food Pantry.

There are multiple ways students can have their basic needs met on and off campus. For information on how to take advantage of these resources, students can head to BBNA’s website or email them at