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The Power of Student Collaboration and Giving At the Center of Positive Student Development

Posted: January 7, 2022 — As students try to navigate the constant shifts of an ever-changing world that impacts their education, there is significant power in giving back to their communities and collaborating with others to enhance their positive impact to society. Fulton Montgomery Community College (FMCC) has many student clubs with so many opportunities to collaborate and give back to their communities. As the world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, one area that has been exponentially difficult on many community members is food insecurity. This has been especially difficult for college campuses in the United States and throughout, which has prompted the development of food pantries to address the need.

FMCC’s PTK Chapter Donates to the Raiders Relief Pantry

FMCC’s PTK Chapter Donates to the Raiders Relief Pantry

It is not to be understated, the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity has been astronomical, with approximately 42 million people, including 13 million children, experiencing food insecurity in 2021. Many people who have been most impacted by the pandemic were already food insecure, or at risk of food insecurity before COVID-19, and are facing even greater hardship since COVID-19. Additionally, significant racial disparities in food insecurity, which existed before COVID-19, continued to increase in the ripple effect of the pandemic. Champion organizations currently addressing food insecurity, such as Feeding America reported that 21% of individuals of color experienced food insecurity in 2021, in comparison to 11% of white individuals (Feeding America, 2021).

In the Fall 2021 semester, FMCC’s Alpha Alpha Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society addressed the challenges of food insecurity with multiple initiatives. On Thursday November 11, 2021, the Alpha Alpha Upsilon chapter students volunteered with Catholic Charities to help bag and distribute food to the local community in Gloversville, NY. Additionally, the PTK students helped FMCC’s Raiders Relief Food Pantry by assisting in the restocking of the pantry’s shelves when deliveries were made. Also, through a New York Region’s PTK Collaborative, FMCC and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC)‘s Alpha Xi Sigma chapter of PTK worked together to address food insecurity on a larger scale, the greater Capital Region.

The Collaborative grant provided $75 dollars to each chapter to help aid in their mission of addressing food insecurity. The combined efforts of FMCC/HVCC resulted in a volunteering endeavor for the ‘Help Hunger Appeal’, which took place at the Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY during Thanksgiving weekend and the students raised $1300 for the endeavor. Additionally, both PTK chapters used their grant funds of $75 each to donate it to each of their college’s food pantries. There is great pride in these students’ actions because it addresses food insecurity, a basic life necessity. It was so heavily impacted by COVID-19 due to the lack of access to sufficient food caused by limited financial resources, which impacted so many.

It will likely take time to fully decrease the food insecurity levels that are seen today, but with powerful collaborations, student initiative and movement, and community actions, student organizations such as PTK can make a positive impact in their school community, local community, and beyond.

This article was written by Flor Trespalacios, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Science at FM and a PTK Co-Advisor, along with Anya Biel, PhD and Laurie Lazinski.

Feeding America (2021) The Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity in 2020 and 2021. Food Insecurity & Poverty in the US – Feeding America.

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