The Wisconsin Union distributed free meals to 1,350 students to help ease pandemic-induced financial stress Thursday.
The free meals, which students pre-registered for, were given out in the Profile Room at Memorial Union, as a part of Wisconsin Union’s “Random Acts of Kindness” effort. In this ongoing initiative the university hopes to give back to students for their support and adaptability this year. Previously, the Union has offered dining deals, free cookies, soda, and crayons and coloring books.
“We are constantly looking for ways to support our campus community, from free and low-cost events to leadership opportunities to inclusive dining options,” said Susan Dibbell, the Wisconsin Union Deputy Director. “Addressing food insecurity on campus is a natural extension of the Wisconsin Union’s roles as the living room on campus and as the heart of UW-Madison.”
Dibbell also stressed the need for students to maintain a connection to their campus during the pandemic.
“Since the pandemic began, we have still held hundreds of virtual events; created on-demand activities; provided outdoor equipment rentals; offered free art studio space for UW-Madison students; and continued to provide study and dining spaces, dining options and many other services,” Dibbell said.
The Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series Committee also plans to host a free, live discussion with Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic medalist, on March 10. The Willis L. Jones Leadership Center is also hosting a leadership retreat on March 13.
The Union plans to offer UW-Madison students free meals again in March and April. Students will have to pre-register to receive the reheatable meal.
“We hope that, by providing a free meal, we’re helping relieve some stress in UW-Madison students’ lives and reminding them how important they are and how much we appreciate them,” Dibbell said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our campus community.”