This week, SGA members learned about the food pantry’s creation and the steps we can take to help! 

I hope you all had a fantabulous winter break full of rest and fun! We started this week’s SGA meeting with open announcements. Undoubtedly our representatives were excited to share their updates after a few weeks away. Also, many committees are open so if you’re interested in joining SGA make sure to reach out to the representative! 

Bannon Beall (BC ‘22): Open invite to join food and dining meetings! Email if you’re interested in joining the food and dining committee. 

Eliza Tagle (BC ‘24): Look out for COVID-19 update emails from SGA, and the design center is reservation-only for 30-minute slots!  

Christina Juste (BC ‘22): Are you low income and need help with textbooks? Email to get discounted or free books! 

Mariame Sissko (BC ‘24): Interested in joining the inclusion committee? Email Mariame at

Audrey Pettit (BC ‘22): If you’re a senior, keep your eyes out for the senior open house, senior slideshow, and senior merch link on the newsletter. 

Summer Jones (BC ‘25): To inquire about joining the freshman class council, email

Ariel Wu (BC ‘23): If you’re interested in joining the Seven Sister Relation Committee email Ariel at

Catlin Michael Wojtkowski (advisor): If you are part of the GBB the deadline to reapply is on Wednesday. It’s art week so check your emails for the GMT showings.

During the presentation portion, SGA members discussed the food pantry with Michael Higgins. 

Higgins is part of Columbia’s School of General Studies and co-created the food pantry at Columbia because of a quality of life initiative that took place in the fall of 2015. Then in the spring of 2016, Michael was part of the committee that found that 35% of the student population experienced some form of food insecurity. The committee had a fund of $1000, and the food was quickly distributed. However, the policy committee noticed it wasn’t just GS students that were reaching out. That’s when Michael realized there was a much larger problem and started working with administrations at Columbia and Barnard’s SGA to create a food pantry. 

If you’re interested in volunteering for the food pantry make sure to check out the Lerner location which is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 pm and the Barnard location at the LeFrak Center which has recently opened!

Barnard’s location at LeFrak Center has open hours that are outside of the COVID-19 testing hours so check them out on Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 pm and Saturday 3:30-6 pm. This is an awesome opportunity because it is NOT school-specific – as long as you can swipe into Barnard Hall you have access. There are some volunteer opportunities as well as board member appointment positions that are open to individuals with experience in management and operations. People who apply should expect 10 to 15 hours of work per week. 

Now moving to the Q&A section: 

Kennedy Yeager (BC ‘22): How do donations work? 

  • The donation system most often requests non-perishable foods. The food pantry uses meals with high protein and nutritional value for families. There’s also an Amazon wishlist that delivers items directly to the food pantry. The food pantry also accepts monetary donations that are usually tax-deductible! 

Audrey Pettit (BC ‘22): What are things in high demand to donate? 

  • The food pantry usually doesn’t need things in specific but non-milk alternatives are incredibly useful as donations because they generally are a little more expensive than regular milk. As a result, they don’t get many donations of non-milk alternatives, but that’s always an item in high demand. 

Parker Watts (BC ‘22): Is there any way we can put this into orientation information and also provide RA’s with this information? Most Barnard students don’t know about the amazing food pantry opportunities.

  • Because of some timing errors, the food pantry didn’t get much time to talk to Barnard students. However, in the past they have, and they’re trying their best for next year. 

And that’s all for this week’s SGA! Hopefully, you enjoyed learning about the food pantry at Columbia and can find some time to donate or volunteer! 

Image made by Ava Morouse