Appollonie’s@Marymount Addresses Food Insecurity in Our Community

Appollonie’s@Marymount is a campus-wide initiative that resulted from collaborative efforts of students, faculty and staff at Marymount. “Appollonie’s Campus Cupboards is an opportunity for our community to embrace our RSHM heritage as we navigate the challenges of the world in which we live,” said Christina Rajmaira, Dean of Student Life. “Working together, we acknowledge that our lives are connected and we offer a living example of what it means to be a member of the Marymount community.”

The project got started about a year ago. Following the events during Ethics Awareness Week, students addressed concerns about food insecurity among the members of our community. The Marymount University Student Government Association (MUSGA) provided a resolution of support, calling for the establishment of a space where all students could gather and access food. Speaking about the campus-wide commitment from the student body and the academic connection to the initiative, Anthony D’Andrea, MU Student Government Association President, said, “In addition to the support of the Interior Design Department and students, and through Student Affairs purchasing the cupboards – students studying nutrition recommended donation items that would be best; IT students are developing a comprehensive inventory system; and SaintsCare Ambassadors and MUSGA collaborated on an educational campaign to launch this great initiative. Appollonie’s Campus Cupboards is truly an embodiment of the Marymount spirit of serving all in our community.” 

Volunteers from Staff Council and the faculty joined the conversation,  looking at national data on the prevalence of food insecurity on college campuses as well as the ways other college campuses are responding. When most college campus address their food insecurity by establishing food banks, Marymount chose a different path.  

With Appollonie’s Campus Cupboards, the goal is to support food security and good health among all members of our community. The “Beziers blue” cupboards reflect our RSHM heritage, symbolizing the care and hospitality we extend to all. Our approach of “taking what you need and giving when you can” differs from many campus initiatives that only serve community members with limited resources, like food banks or pantries. The cupboards are in high traffic areas around campus and will be stocked with donations from faculty, students and staff members.

“We are building the project from the ground up,” explained Dr. Janine DeWitt, one of the faculty members involved. “Student Affairs purchased the cupboards. The Interior Design Department sponsored a chalk painting workshop with a local artist and led the teams of volunteers who painted the cupboards. Students in nutrition classes generated the lists of items for donation. MUSGA and the SaintsCare Ambassadors designed an educational campaign for the project. Another group of students is working on an inventory app that will be used to track donations and help us distribute supplies across campus. The Center for Global Education purchased the printed bags that are used to collect donations. This extensive collaboration is an expression of how our community members care for one another.”

Appollonie’s@Marymount has a broader vision of expanding access to healthy food across campus. An important next step will be discussions with Marymount Dining about unused meal swipes as well as providing alternatives to the existing meal plan options that reduce meal cost, recycle waste and expand food access for commuter students. The group looks forward to coordinating with the Food for Thought campus group and the Wellness Task Force, hopefully expanding the offerings to include fresh produce.

For a better idea of what our cupboards look like and where you can find them on campus, watch our Student Government’s Video about them.