CSU, Chico Takes on Student Food and Housing Insecurity, Launches Chico Cares Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 08-28-2017

CONTACT: Sean Murphy
TEL: 530-898-6492
Kathleen Moroney
TEL: 530-898-6131

In a significant step to fight student food and housing insecurity, California State University, Chico President Gayle E. Hutchinson announced the collaborative launch of the University’s Chico Cares campaign in support of student basic needs, uniting the campus and Chico communities.

A 2016 CSU, Chico student research survey indicated that 46 percent of the University student respondents suffered from low to very low food security, reflecting an estimated 8,000 students campuswide. Additionally, initial California State University system research indicates that one in every 10 CSU students lives in unstable housing situations. Food and housing insecurity is proven to have negative effects on student well-being, academic performance, retention and graduation rates.

In 2016, the CSU system launched the Basic Needs Initiative to support the more than 100,000 students systemwide who experience food and housing insecurity.

“When we speak of student success, it is paramount that we create a University experience where no student should have to make a decision between sufficient food and safe and reliable housing, and their education,” President Hutchinson said in her fall Convocation address this month.

CSU, Chico’s commitment to helping its students has been a collaborative effort. In May 2017, a gift from the Chico Chapter of the California Faculty Association established the Chico Cares Endowment and Annual Fund to support the Chico State Basic Needs Project, which provides nutritious supplemental food through the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry, short-term emergency housing and emergency grants for students experiencing significant financial stress and poverty.

The initial faculty gift to the endowment, which will support future students in need, was bolstered by the graduating class of 2017 and their Wildcat peers. Over 1,625 students donated more than $7,400 to grow the endowment and another $5,000 to the annual fund to support students’ immediate needs, officially kicking off this year’s Chico Cares Campaign. This was accomplished through a yearlong fundraising effort sponsored by the Chico State Student Philanthropy Council.

To ensure that we can meet students’ needs today, the Chico Cares Campaign is raising $50,000 to fund the Basic Needs Project this year. Through the generous support of donors on and off campus, the campaign plans to culminate on Giving Day, November 28, 2017.

The goal of the Chico Cares Endowment is to provide long-term support for basic needs services in perpetuity, so that future students struggling with food and housing insecurity will always have the support they need to focus on their academic success and graduate.

“Student food and housing insecurity are significant issues at Chico State and throughout the CSU system,” said Kathleen Moroney, founder of the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry. “The Chico Cares Campaign takes direct aim at fighting student poverty and helps ensure that every Chico State student has access to basic needs so they can complete their degree and graduate.”

Established in 2013, the Chico State Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry has grown to serve more than 1,900 students during the 2016-17 academic year—a significant increase from 300 students the preceding year. The expansion is largely due to a $20,100 grant from the Associated Students Sustainability Fund.

As support increases, the number of students served is expected to increase once again with the goal of serving 4,000 students this academic year. To assist in longer-term food assistance, participants are also supported through CalFresh USDA SNAP application assistance in the Pantry through a partnership with the nationally recognized CSU, Chico Center for Healthy Communities.

The Chico Cares Campaign extends well beyond campus borders, as hundreds of community members and several organizations continue to support these efforts. In July, the Chico Breakfast Lions Club donated a $3,000 commercial-grade refrigerator to the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry, which greatly increased its capacity to store healthy produce.

“Together, we will ensure that no student is hungry or homeless at Chico State,” President Hutchinson said.

Go to http://chicocares.csuchico.edu to support the Chico Cares campaign online or TEXT “chicocares” to 71777 on your mobile device. Students can join the cause as well by visiting the Student Philanthropy Council website at www.csuchico.edu/spc.

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About California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico is the second-oldest campus in the 23-member CSU system, the nation’s largest public university system. Founded in 1887, Chico State enrolls approximately 17,500 students and offers more than 230 graduate and undergraduate programs through its seven colleges and five schools. The campus is consistently ranked as one of the best regional public universities in the Western United States and is the only CSU campus to have earned a favorable rating in all five categories of the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which rates universities on affordability and value. Its mission includes a broad commitment to environmental sustainability, public service and community engagement throughout the 12-county North State region, where the campus is located. The University became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2015.