by Christi Mathis
CARBONDALE, Ill. — As the holiday season approaches, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is offering students numerous options for dining, lodging and other support, both during the holidays when usual options aren’t available as well as throughout the year in conjunction with the university’s new Higher Education Resources and Opportunities for Salukis in Need (HEROES) program.
“Going to college can be a challenging experience for students, so SIU is providing resources to assist Salukis who are experiencing housing, food and financial insecurities,” said Jaime Clark, director of Student Health Services and campus liaison for HEROES.
Food and housing insecurity is a national issue
A national survey by HOPE Lab found that 36% of university students experienced food insecurity during the previous 30 days while 16% of university students reported both food and housing insecurity. SIU is providing resources to students who qualify as “homeless” or as a “student in care.” If a student is couch-surfing, living out of their car, temporarily living with a friend, or having any other type of housing insecurity, they can qualify for university assistance, Clark notes.
The Saluki Food Pantry, located in the lower level of the Student Center, is open on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It provides students with enough free food to sustain each individual in their household for 3-4 days. The pantry also supplies recipes developed by the university’s Human Nutrition and Dietetics students for preparing dishes that utilize the food items they receive from the pantry.
In addition, food bags are also available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Dean of Student’s Office, located in Room 486 of the Student Services Building, and in the Wellness and Health Promotion Services Office, located on the main floor of the Student Health Center.
Here for the holidays
Also beginning this fall, students experiencing homelessness or situations in which they are unable to return home may stay in SIU residence halls during academic breaks. The rooms include all of the usual amenities.
In addition, prior to SIU holiday closures students may acquire enough food at the Saluki Food Pantry to sustain their household during the break. Find a list of Thanksgiving break prepared-meal options throughout the local area, including many within walking distance of campus, at dos.siu.edu/policies_resources/HEROS/academic-breaks.php.
Student transportation needs are also addressed. For the Saluki Express Break Route schedule, visit studentcenter.siu.edu/services/transportation-parking/saluki-express/index.php. Students may also arrange transportation in advance by contacting Jackson County Mass Transit at 618-549-0304 or Rides Mass Transit at 1-844-220-1243.