Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Student organizations should plan donation drives with UT Outpost

Sharon Chang

UT Outpost is an on-campus resource that provides aid to students facing food insecurity or those with difficulties accessing resources. Whether it’s the food pantry or the Career Closet, UT Outpost offers a diverse selection of items to meet students’ needs.  

Donating to UT Outpost adds to its pool of items and creates a powerful sense of community. With the help of student organizations, UT Outpost could cover so much more than the basics. 

“Our ultimate goal at UT Outpost would be to be fully sustainable on donations because that shows the community investment in what we’re doing,” said Valeria Martin, assistant director for basic needs in the Office of the Dean of Students. “That’s what we hope for in the future — getting the community involved and supporting each other.”

UT Outpost strives to be a completely donation-based resource and emphasizes the impact donation drives held by student organizations can have on keeping the Outpost stocked for students in their community.

“I just want to say that no matter the size of the donation drive or the results of it, anything donated to UT Outpost is appreciated by our students and staff,” Martin said. “I know sometimes folks are discouraged and say, ‘We didn’t collect that much.’ But anything that can be donated to the pantry ends up in the hands of students and helps support them whenever they’re facing food insecurity.”

UT Outpost’s donations vary throughout the year and usually increase toward the end of the semester. However, Martin explained that this trend means fewer donations are received near the beginning of the academic year and during the summer. 

As the holidays come up, the spirit of giving will likely cause a spike in donations. These donations can play a big role for any place that accepts them, since potential excesses can contribute to the next year.

“Drives usually do better around the holidays,” said Heather Kellum, a psychology junior and Terry service coordinator of the Terry Scholars Student Association. “People are more in the giving spirit compared to just any other time of the year simply because they have more empathy. It does depend on the person (regarding) how much they give or if they give at all, but in my opinion, I feel like time does matter significantly in how successful a drive would be.” 

While it’s important for student organizations to contribute to UT Outpost year-round, they should take advantage of the holiday season and the “spirit of giving.” By participating in planning a donation drive, student organizations may help sustain UT Outpost’s resources for the upcoming year. 

UT Outpost includes a link to the donation drive request form on the student emergency services page. If student organizations take time to plan beforehand and submit the form early, the planning process for the donation drive is relatively quick and painless. 

“I feel like orgs should take time to consider helping the UT Outpost as it does help a lot of students on campus, and it’s a really great resource overall,” Kellum said. “Finances (are) something that most college students worry about, and we might not have the time, money or resources to go somewhere and pick up certain goods for personal wear.”

Student organizations can give back to the University community by focusing their efforts on the UT Outpost donation drive, specifically taking advantage of the holidays and preparing them for the cold weather. 

Rail is an English sophomore from El Paso, Texas.

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