‘Howling Good Time’ with dogs, treats and crafts

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

To address any hunger and food insecurity that may exist among students at Oakland University, the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry provides a variety of non-perishable food to students. 

October marks its one year since its opening. Opened in October 2018, the pantry tackles barriers related to food insecurities to help students achieve their utmost success.

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, the Office for Student Involvement (OSI) hosted an event called “Howling Good Time” on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

With Halloween approaching in less than a week, the OSI tried to incorporate the Halloween theme into the event. 

Jean Ann Miller, senior director of the OSI, said the event will also feature therapy dogs and free food with a Halloween theme.

“This event is for OU students to get acquainted with the Office for Student Involvement and the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry — where we are located and what resources, programs and services we have to offer students,” Miller said. “What better way to attract students’ attention is therapy dogs and treats.”

In addition to the celebration, the food pantry collected non-perishable food items and toiletries to equip the pantry and better serve its students.

The food pantry is run by managers and many volunteers. 

Rae Johnson is a manager of the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry. She oversees volunteers, day-to-day pantry operations and coordinates food drives to the pantries. 

She shared her story about how the first year of operating the food pantry went and what the process was like to bring the pantry to campus.

“Before the pantry was created, Dr. Beam, the director of the social work program, and Jean Ann Miller advocated for a food pantry on campus,” Johnson said. “Dr. Beam conducted research on food insecurity on our campus, and the need for a food pantry was overwhelming. The first year was successful. We have served over 250 students and their families.”

The donation of over 3,500 pounds of food from the OU community and partnerships with Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Global Engagement office and the Center for Multicultural Initiatives have been instrumental in supporting the pantry in its first year, according to Johnson.

“We were inspired to do this work because we envision a campus where every student succeeds. For that to happen, we must meet students’ basic needs,” Johnson said. “It is hard to concentrate or focus on school when students are worried about budgeting money for tuition, rent, or household bills.”

In the end, her goal is to spread awareness about the pantry, providing as many students as possible with opportunities to attain the food resource that they need.

Besides this event, the OSI hosts various events throughout the school year for students to get involved.

“Most importantly, we really want to assist OU students to get involved on OU’s campus and get connected to campus activities and student organizations, as well as leadership and volunteer opportunities,” Miller said.

To learn more about this event or to sign up for it, visit OU’s Campus Labs website.