SRC x USU FoodHub reopens to boost student wellness
SRC Foodhub will return for Semester 2 2022 in what has been described as a “promising” initiative to tackle food poverty and student welfare amid Australia’s cost of living crisis.
The program was halted last semester following administrative incidents between the Sydney University Union (USU) and the SRC.
Foodhub will begin operations next week with a soft launch and official opening party in week three.
Located on level four of the International Student Lounge (ISL) in the Wentworth building, the renovated Foodhub will operate on demand, resembling a pantry. This was made possible after the renovation of the space by the USU.
The program will take place on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each week during the semester. The space will be occupied by SRC volunteers during opening hours.
Foodhub will submit orders for bulk deliveries of essential foods and basic toiletries, which students can pick up from ISL. This marks a substantial change from its predecessor, where preset baskets were given out. When a product is not available, the SRC is able to request the item when enough students also show interest.
Another key difference is that the new Foodhub is available to all students, meaning both international and domestic students can access the program’s food support.
According to RSC President Lauren Lancaster, the choice of a demand-driven program was due to student feedback that the 2021 international student baskets lacked diversity and did not cater to a wide range of dietary preferences.
“It’s particularly promising because we found that the old parcel system meant some students were given food they couldn’t or didn’t want to eat,” Lancaster said.
“It was devoid of various cultural staples like different noodles, cooking sauces, spices and rice products. We aim to fill this gap in response to student demand. This means they will be able to choose the foods they need most and find what works best for them, resulting in less food waste and a more personalized supply of essentials.
Agreeing with Lancaster, RSC vice-presidents Emily Storey and Mikaela Pappou said Honi that the program was essential in alleviating Sydney’s cost of living crisis on the student body.
“With the cost of living rising, we know how important programs like Food Hub are to ensuring that all students at the university can access essential basics,” they said.
According analysis by Nick Evershed and Lara Sonnenschein, rising inflation to 6.1% pushed up the price of essentials like fruit and vegetables by around 5.8%.
“We are really excited to be able to launch the SRC Foodhub program after a semester of planning alongside USU. We are extremely proud to continue the strong tradition of providing mutual aid services on behalf of the RSC,” said Storey and Pappou.
Students interested in volunteering for the SRC FoodHub program can register their interest here.