ASUO Street Faire donates half of revenue to fund food insecurity efforts

The Associated Students of the University Oregon Street Faire this spring will donate 50 percent of its revenue to fund future campus food security efforts.

ASUO has sought to finance food insecurity initiatives this year, but since the ASUO budget season already ended, ASUO looked to the Street Faire as a potential funding source. Food security is one of the bigger goals of both this and next year’s ASUO administrations.

“Food security has never really been touched on or brought to light as a basic needs issue on the University of Oregon campus,” Schenk said, “so I think it’s vital for us to address and continue to address these issues, seeing as it is a basic need.”

Though the actual amount has not yet been calculated, Schenk estimates that the amount that will be donated to the fund will be around three to four thousand dollars. The last year’s street faire raked in about $10,000 in revenue, according to Around the O.

Money will also be donated to the food security fund by allocating money donated by individuals such as alumni and Eugene community members to the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit independent of UO that collects and distributes donations to the university, according to its website

I have a feeling that we’re going to be getting funding from outside community members with this fund,” Schenk said. Some of this year’s food insecurity initiatives, such as Quack Wraps and ASUO’s work with the Oregon Hunger Task Force.

Schenk said that funding for food insecurity programs may be written as a line item in the ASUO budget in the future. A line item is a specific item listed in a budget, like the amount of money that goes toward the ASUO Women’s Center, the Multicultural Center and the ASUO Men’s Center. Whether or not this will happen depends on the goals of next year’s ASUO Senate.

Money in the fund will only be allowed to be used to fund food insecurity initiatives, according to Schenk, but the rules surrounding the use of the funds will be loose enough to allow funding of any new food insecurity programs next year.

One of the biggest obstacles facing ASUO in developing these food insecurity initiatives was time. ASUO has been coordinating efforts between community food insecurity initiatives and ASUO since fall term, and Schenk said that it was difficult to get all of these people “in the same room with administrators” while juggling school work and graduation plans.

Next year’s ASUO External Vice President, Ivan Chen, has experience working in food insecurity initiatives and plans to continue to build on Schenk’s work, particularly her work to establish a budget for the Student Food Pantry on 19th Avenue. After he first transferred from a Californian community college to UO, Chen joined OSPIRG and worked on its food insecurity initiatives that included food donation drives each term. He also organizes Quack Wraps for ASUO.

When Chen lived in Taiwan as a child, he witnessed parents in his schools who could not afford to pay the lunch fee for their children, and this motivated him to work on food insecurity efforts.

“I would see a lot of the children who suffer from the hunger,” Chen said.

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Ryan Nguyen

Ryan Nguyen

Ryan ("Nayr" ) Nguyen is the podcast editor. He's a sophomore who is studying journalism and computer information technology, aka making pretty websites.

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