The 2017 Class Gift Campaign was recently announced as one of 18 recipients of grant money made available through a new program launched by the Penn State Bookstore, which is managed by Barnes & Noble. The program will award $825,000 in grants to the Penn State community over the next five years to seed new initiatives among students and faculty that will advance the University’s most pressing academic priorities. The grants are part of a larger University-wide philanthropic commitment of $1.25 million from the bookstore.
Lion’s Pantry was announced as the chosen 2017 class gift in October 2016. By creating a permanent, annual source of funding to support Lion’s Pantry, the class of 2017 will address the issue of hunger among in-need and at-risk students at Penn State. The Class Gift Campaign will use the Barnes & Noble gift as a match: for every senior who makes a gift in any amount, the Barnes & Noble’s match will be a $20.17 allocation to the Pantry Endowment. If the donation is given via Lion Line, it will be a dollar-for-dollar match.
The endowment funds being generated from the class gift are to be used at the discretion of the students at Lion’s Pantry. Their immediate priority will be improving food security within the facility, expanding storage capabilities, and promoting awareness of the pantry within the Penn State community. Once these urgencies are met, the grant money will be used for other important needs.
“Serving students every day, we are acutely aware of the sacrifices many students make to earn their degree. We know that some students cut food expenses in order to pay for their educational costs. No one should have to be in that position,” said Steve Falke, regional director of the Penn State Bookstores, who oversees the 28 bookstores throughout the Penn State system. “Students have always supported the bookstore, therefore it is only natural that we partner with the class of 2017 in supporting the Lion’s Pantry to fight student hunger.”
This gift from the class of 2017 is of particular significance because services like Lion’s Pantry are often not well known by students and therefore underutilized despite a growing need. The 2017 class gift will have a significant and lasting impact on the ability of students to focus on their studies and not where they will find their next meal.
“The endowment for Lion’s Pantry is an amazing legacy for the class of 2017. Not only are we identifying a serious issue within the student body, but we are also taking tangible steps forward to eliminate the problem,” said Sis-Obed Torres, 2017 Class Gift Campaign executive director.
While the Class Gift Campaign committee is asking members of the senior class to support the gift to Lion’s Pantry, anyone is able to contribute to the gift. Parents, faculty, staff, students not graduating in 2017, and members of the community are all invited to give to support the campaign by going to classgift.psu.edu.