(Aug. 9, 2017) -- As the summer of 2017 comes to a close, the Roadrunner Pantry at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is filled with students busily working on outreach and marketing to expand services to the UTSA community. The group of 12 energetic incoming freshmen is spending time this summer learning about food insecurity among college students and dedicating time toward promoting the pantry’s efforts across campus.
The students are incoming UTSA freshmen enrolled in the first pilot cohort of Project LEAD. Project LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Academics and Dedication) is one of two UTSA programs funded by the University of Texas System. The goal of Project LEAD is to increase student success and retention for incoming freshmen. The student volunteers earn college credit for their participation.
Rhonda Gonzales, UTSA associate vice provost for strategic initiatives, heads up the summer LEAD pilot program. Incoming freshmen enrolled in the program participate in a college success seminar and attend a history and political science class as well as an academic inquiry class. Additionally, students participate in a service-learning component with the Roadrunner Pantry, making them the first volunteer Roadrunners helping Roadrunners.
“The service learning component has afforded these students the opportunity to gain insight into this initiative to address food insecure students on campus,” said Nikki Lee, UTSA University Center senior associate director of events management and advisor to the Roadrunner Pantry. “Most were not exposed to this concept and all are developing skills in working together to support students in need.”
The students have learned about the important role the pantry plays on campus. They’ve worked on projects to promote the UTSA Ambassador Program and scheduled food drives in various departments. The team also focused on marketing the pantry by making a video highlighting the important service the pantry provides, and creating social media content for the UTSA community.
Through their efforts, the students developed a connection to campus and gave back to the community they will call home for the next four years.
“It’s been a humbling experience to see the impact we’ve had by giving to other students we don’t even know,” said Lonnie Smith, an incoming freshman originally from Hawaii who came to UTSA to study computer engineering.
The Roadrunner Pantry opened in March of this year. So far, it has served more than 1,000 UTSA students and distributed more than 4,500 pounds of food. The pantry is open to all students with a UTSA ID. All members of the UTSA community are invited to contribute to the efforts by donating food, time and money. The Roadrunner Pantry is currently doing a crowdfunding project to raise money during the month of August.
Learn more about the Roadrunner Pantry, including operating hours and how you can donate.
Learn more about the UTSA University Center.
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
This event guides seniors and graduate students on the last phase of their college career and prepares recent alumni within one year of graduation for the world of work. Workshops and sessions will provide information on interview skills, job search strategies and networking.Student Union, University Career Center, 2nd floor, Main Campus
The gala brings together UTSA alumni, friends and guests to celebrate the association's 41 years of scholarships, services, programs and the 2018 Alumni Award recipients.Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
As part of the citywide Kidcation and the ITC's free second Sunday, kids and families will have an opportunity to interact with cowboy docents, practice their skills at roping, learn about life on the cattle drives, make their own spurs, grab a seat for cowboy story time and work on cowboy-themed hands-on crafts.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Dozens of fun and free events to welcome new and returning Roadrunners.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The kickoff to Roadrunner Days, the UTSA community welcomes the thousands of students who move in to their new homes as they begin their journey at UTSA.Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
After a full day of moving, UTSA students and their families are invited to the party featuring food, swag, dancing and a special performance from the Spirit of San Antonio marching band.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus