New program notifies students of free food available on campus

Cadet Zachary Carson and Andrew Hsu rejoice at the availability of free food at their fingertips.

Mississippi State University’s Division of Student Affairs has introduced a new program to battle food insecurity on campus.

As of this semester, the new Maroon Meals program, designed to alert students of available food sources on campus, the food’s location and how long it will be obtainable, is available to all students on MSU's Starkville campus. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Regina Hyatt said Student Affairs does a lot on campus to ensure student success through food security.

“There are lots of things related to food security we do on campus,” Hyatt said. “This is another way we can support student success.”

Hyatt said she hopes the program can take pressure off of students to find their next meal and allow them to focus on life and school.    

“We’re just trying to alleviate barriers for students,” Hyatt said. “I hope they see this as a resource to manage life and alleviate concerns about where they’re gonna get their next meal.”

The program started off as a conversation within Student Affairs late last year. Hyatt had spoken with Marketing and Communications Coordinator Katie Corban about other universities using similar programs to alert students to food sources, and thought it would be beneficial to the students of Mississippi State.

Corban then contacted other universities and talked to their coordinators about how they implemented their programs. She met with ITS to discuss whether a notification system could be added to the myState application.

ITS was able to add the function to the myState application, as they already had the necessary technology in place. ITS also added a portal on Banner in order for Student Affairs staff to send out the information for the notifications.

Once Corban gave ITS all of the information needed in order to put the program together, Student Affairs began to promote the program.

“Maroon Meals kinda just kicked that off,” Corban said.

Students can sign up for a notification from Maroon Meals by downloading the myState app on their smart phone and logging in with their netID and password.

After logging in, students can look under the student, faculty and staff section and select the notification sign up, turn the Maroon Meals slider on and select save. Once saved, students should make sure notifications are enabled for the myState application on their smart phones. After that, the process is complete and notifications from Maroon Meals will come through on the student’s smart phone.

Corban said the program would be worth it even it only alleviates one student’s hunger for one meal.

“Even if it helps with one meal, it’s successful in its own right,” Corban said. 

Corban is excited for the program and hopes it will effectively serve the students of Mississippi State. 

“I hope that students are aware of it and know how to sign up,” Corban said. “I hope they utilize it.”

Katie Ray, a junior interdisciplinary studies major, said she has already heard about the new program on campus and is excited for the possibility of free food. 

“Whenever there’s extra food on campus, me and my friends wanna know, because it may be something that’s not from the Perry or Fresh,” Ray said. 

Ray is also hopeful about the role Maroon Meals will play in the community. 

“I’m hoping that whatever is left goes to food shelters,” Ray said. 

For more information, call the Division of Student Affairs at 662-325-8171.

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