(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.
Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.John Peace Library, Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), Main Campus
MuTe Fest is a celebration of original music and technology. Three days of concerts, sessions, and informative lectures will offer a unique experience of musical works created by fellow UTSA students and the chance to gain valuable knowledge about music technology.Art Building, Music Tech Lab (Arts 3.01.30B), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries hosts Assistant Professor Ian Caine for his lecture, Architectural Postcards from Space, as part of the popular Pizza + Research series. Pizza will be served while supplies last.Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.304), Downtown Campus
The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
Registration is open now for this family-friendly and dog-friendly run that supports the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship fund.Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 14th Annual UTSA Storytelling Festival featuring Nancy Simpson, storyteller and keynote speaker. The event is free and open to the public.Main Building, Ground Floor Lobby, Main Campus
Students are invited to a semi-formal, dinner banquet with an awards presentation and dancing. Keynote speaker will be San Antonio City Councilman William Cruz Shaw. Tickets must be purchased by Feb 19 at Roadrunner Express. UTSA students are $15 and guests are $20.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1/106), Main Campus