Seeking to support students’ academic success outside of the classroom, the National University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (NU-AAUP) established a holiday food and gift program for students. The chapter undertook this mission because, as faculty, we understand that events outside of the classroom impact student success as much as what happens in the classroom. When students are over-stressed, if they worry about their housing situation or running short of funds for food, or if they have limited ability to provide a Holiday Dinner and modest gifts for family members, these concerns take up the mental energy and time needed for their studies. Given this reality for our students, we sought to make life just a little easier for them this December.
The NU-AAUP Chapter was assisted by National University Student Wellness staff who identified students in need of a boost this holiday season. The Chapter donated money to kick-off the project and individual chapter members generously donated additional funds. The generosity of faculty allowed us to fulfill the essential-item and small-gift requests from each student. Professor Jack Hamlin volunteered to do all the food shopping. Dr. Hamlin is no stranger to working with those in need; he volunteers in a community dinner and pantry service so he said this was a pleasure for him to do. Professor Lorna Zukas agreed to shop for needed gifts and Dr. Alex Zukas for other needed items. Professors Lorna and Alex Zukas are deeply engaged in community projects where they live and agreed it would be wonderful to help students on campus. Food and gift baskets were presented to Ms. Ashley Maakestad, Assistant Manager, Student Wellness. Ms. Maakestad arranged distribution to students. This was a great team effort between faculty and staff to support National University students!