Major Department

Interdepartmental Studies


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2017

Honors Major Advisor

David Gould

Thesis Mentor

Amy Weismann


This project’s main goal was to establish a campus food pantry at the University of Iowa, a goal accomplished through collaboration and communication with dozens of different departments and organizations, as well as community partners. The first part of the project began by identifying the various departments around campus who could impact the development of a pantry on campus. This included the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, the President’s Office, the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, University of Iowa Housing and Dining, Associated Residences Halls, and University of Iowa Student Government. I knew that something like this had never been done at the university before and it would require a lot of input from various departments. Eventually I connected with some other students who were also interested in starting a pantry on campus, and we formed the UI Pantry Steering Committee. As a team, we began to do research on the issue. We created and sent out a survey to the UI community regarding food insecurity. We received over a 1,000 respondents and discovered that around 30% of students at the UI were food insecure. We were able to then use that data to prove that food insecurity was a real threat to our campus. We also reached out to dozens of different schools around the country, both in the Big 10 and out, to find out how they ran their own pantries. We collected their data, budget, client and distribution numbers to estimate where we might see ourselves in one or two years. We spoke with the Crisis Center of Johnson County and discussed how we could supplement their services without stepping on their toes, and today, the Crisis Center has become one of our most important partners. With all of this information, we spent the next few months creating a proposal we could put before UISG and ask for funding. The proposal was 12 pages long and contained a summary of all of the data we’d spent the last half a year collecting. After hearing our proposal, UISG voted to unanimously grant us our request for $10,000 start up funds. After that, the steering committee only had one more task, and that was appoint who would actually be running the pantry and I was selected alongside two other members of the steering committee to be on the executive board of the pantry.


food, social welfare, food pantry, food insecurity

Total Pages

1 page


Copyright © 2017 Benjamin Marks

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.