Caitlin Schauer

Caitlin Schauer, a Waseca native who is studying at Upper Iowa University, created a pantry at the university where students can access nutritious food to help curb food insecurity among students. (Photo courtesy Upper Iowa University)

Waseca native Caitlin Schauer is ensuring students at Upper Iowa University have access to quality, nutritious food on a daily basis.

Schauer, a senior at UIU majoring in marketing and psychology, led the effort to create the newly established Peacock Pantry as part of her psychology internship. The goal was to eliminate hunger and food insecurity for UIU’s Fayette Campus students by providing access to food products during break periods, promoting healthy nutrition and increasing student success by reducing barriers to a complete education.

“I want students to have a source of food on campus regardless if they lived on or off it,” she said in a statement. “Students shouldn’t have to decide between paying for a textbook and eating for the week.”

Schauer surveyed students in February to identify food insecurity on the campus. About half the students surveyed said they had experienced food disruptions because they didn’t have money or other resources for it and two-thirds of the students surveyed said they were aware of other students who had experienced food disruptions. Students reported low energy and fatigue, irritable mood, poor concentration and low sleep quality due to an inadequate amount of food.

“With the university meal plan being the only regular source of nutritional food for many students, we want the pantry to serve as a general resource of quality food for all students,” said UIU senior director of academic success Amy Tucker.

The Student Philanthropy Council’s crowdfunding campaign raised more than $2,000 for the pantry and the campaign was supported by the Alumni Office and Alumni Association board members. Peacocks for Progress student volunteers raised funds to provide shelving, food and other necessities to establish the pantry.

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