Next semester, Marquette’s Student Government will begin selling food baskets of fruits and vegetables from Growing Power that will be available for six weeks for $9 in the Center for Leadership, Service and Involvement. This is a sound decision made by MUSG that provides a short-term solution to the persistent food desert issue on campus.
Though there is a big difference between selling fruit baskets and having a grocery store on campus, it is important to acknowledge this opportunity as a small victory leading us in the right direction. The baskets will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Considering the demand for healthy, fresh food on campus, they will likely sell out quickly each week, but perhaps this will work in the students’ favor to further expedite an on-campus supermarket initiative.
University President Michael Lovell has explored campus supermarket options for over a year and has shared that to turn this vision into a reality, more information must be gathered to ensure a supermarket can be successful in the Avenues West neighborhood. Until then, fruit and vegetable baskets will have to suffice.
This initiative not only promotes health, but provides it as well. Sure, students will still have to go off campus to grocery shop, but this collaboration between MUSG and Growing Power creates an opportunity for students to buy healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable fruits and vegetables conveniently on campus.
In addition, this initiative encourages building community relations. Growing Power is an urban agriculture organization headquartered in Milwaukee. They work to help provide equal access to nutritious, affordable food for people in all communities in Milwaukee and have been doing so for over twenty years.
Given that Marquette is currently in search for a Campus Sustainability Coordinator to help enhance sustainability efforts, the university should consider hiring someone who would be capable of introducing and further promoting a relationship between students and Growing Power. MUSG has put forth great effort to start this relationship, and it would be great to continue working with them, whether students volunteer or become community educators themselves.
This endeavor is possible because MUSG decided to use reserve funds. To guarantee its success, MUSG must be sure to advertise it well, especially because it is first-come, first-served. In the past, MUSG has been at fault for not taking great lengths to market and advertise its campaigns and initiatives, but it is pertinent that they do so with this one. Students have demanded a supermarket on campus for years and since this initiative poses as a short-term solution, making students aware that fruit and vegetables are available for purchase is crucial.
MUSG’s decision to use reserve funds demonstrates its ability to listen to the needs of the student body and provide a service that is beneficial to students and building community relations.
Hopefully, this initiative will create room for further relational development between students and Growing Power as well as further discussion for a supermarket on campus.
Again, MUSG must be intentional in making sure students are well aware of the fruit and vegetable baskets being sold in the CLSI.
While it is merely a small victory for students who desire easily accessible, healthy food, this collaboration between MUSG and Growing Power demonstrates that Marquette is headed in the right direction.