Who We Are
Student Emergency Services provides assistance, intervention, and referrals to support students navigating challenging or unexpected issues that impact their well-being and academic success. One of those challenges is hunger and food insecurity.
We know food insecurity makes it hard for students to stay in class and succeed, and the goal of the UT Outpost it to help students understand and identify food insecurity, as well as making nutritious food readily available when they need it.
In addition, the UT Outpost houses a career closet that provides every Longhorn access to professional clothes for job interviews and internships. Emergencies and financial hardships can interfere with student success beyond the classroom, and this program serves as an additional resource for students.
What We’re Fundraising For
The UT Outpost began in May 2018 with the goal of ending food insecurity and reducing barriers to professional and academic success. On October 10th, 2019, the UT Outpost reopened in a renovated space in UA9. The food pantry is set up like a grocery store, with added refrigerators to allow for the storage of fresh produce and dairy. The facility allows for students to shop on their own as you would in a grocery store, with each student receiving a reusable tote that is theirs to keep after visiting the Outpost. Students are not asked for any financial information and the only requirement is that they are enrolled in at least one course.
Access to professional attire was another initiative identified by the Office of the Dean of Students while developing the UT Outpost. The expectation to have professional attire to attend professional events, interview for internships, and obtain career opportunities can be a challenge for low-income students. The career closest within the UT Outpost is a sustainable solution to provide a solution for those students. In the new location, students can shop as they would in a department store and try on their outfit in the fitting rooms before leaving. The career closest has everything from suits to belts, shoes, and accessories.
Both the food pantry and career closet are maintained completely by donations from the UT and Austin communities.
Fresh produce is often unavailable in food pantries, as the shelf life is short, and the storage needs are different. Food pantries are also not able to accept fresh produce from donations, making it an additional cost to the operation. Donations made to the UT Outpost during 40 for Forty will go to support the supply of fresh produce available for our students. This will allow the students to have access to healthy, nutritional, options when selecting meals for themselves while shopping at the UT Outpost.
Expanding the awareness of the UT Outpost is an important piece of the work being done by both student staff and volunteers. Donations made to the UT Outpost during 40 for Forty will also ensure that the Student Leadership Board is able to expand the outreach efforts across the Forty Acres, so that all students are aware of this important resource that is available to them. This need can be highlighted in one students experience:
“This summer was extremely difficult financially, thus mentally and emotionally. The department of education had a weird policy that wouldn't allow me to receive proper financial aid resources, and my summer job didn't have nearly enough hours to cover all of my bills AND necessities such as food. Having food provided with the UT Outpost helped significantly with improving my health inside-and-out and I'm incredibly thankful for UT's resources. Having nutritious foods available also helped immensely as I'm working hard to have a healthy lifestyle as a busy student. I have even recommended this source of aid to many of my other friends, which is when I realized how little this resource is advertised. I hope the outreach expands so more students can eat properly and fully while chasing their academic dreams.”