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
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New West Campus free fridge holds grand opening

Maya+Crane%2C+a+government+and+Mexican+American+and+Latino+studies+sophomore%2C+is+pictured+in+front+of+the+West+Campus+free+fridge+on+April+6%2C+2024.+Crane+and+a+group+of+volunteers+built+and+installed+the+structure+behind+Pearl+Street+Co-op.
Naina Srivastava
Maya Crane, a government and Mexican American and Latino studies sophomore, is pictured in front of the West Campus free fridge on April 6, 2024. Crane and a group of volunteers built and installed the structure behind Pearl Street Co-op.

About 20 community members gathered in front of a pink shed housing a refrigerator and pantry last Saturday with coffee and tacos in hand to celebrate the grand opening of a new free fridge in West Campus.

Mayahuel Crane, a government and Mexican American and Latino studies sophomore, built and installed the shed located behind Pearl Street Co-op with a group of volunteers. The electricity is provided by the house, but all community members are able to volunteer and contribute food to the refrigerator, Crane said.

“I’m very, very grateful that this is a community that cares about this,” Crane said. “Heartwarming seems like such a cheesy word to say, but genuinely I’m just so grateful that there’s so much support. … This can actually be a resource people are going to be able to use.” 


Crane said the refrigerator is a “solidarity, not charity” initiative she started a year ago designed to promote mutual aid in the West Campus community. 

“When I moved here, this (project) was one of the first things I did that got me connected with people in Austin,” Crane said. “Moving here, (mutual aid) was something I was definitely missing and I also wanted to be able to make that connection here.” 

Crane said the refrigerator cost $4000 to fund, but they surpassed their goal, raising $5500. The refrigerator continues to receive donations on a rolling basis.

Caleb Staten, a radio, television, and film and race, indigeneity and migration sophomore, donated $200 to the refrigerator. He also helped to construct the shed housing the refrigerator, contributing his money and time to support the initiative.

“I want to help out physically a lot too,” Staten said. “A lot of people want (to), but are too busy to do them, or they’re like they’re too nervous to help out. If I can at any point physically help out (and in general) at any point … I would want to, because some people don’t have that time.”

Staten said if the refrigerator becomes “akin to charity,” it won’t remain sustainable. He encourages students to donate whatever they can, when they can. 

“If everyone (is like) ‘Oh, I have 15 extra dollars, I’ll buy some stuff and just put it in there,’ And the next week, ‘Oh, I’m a little short (on money), I’ll go over and pick some stuff up’, and then build a community about the people you meet there — all (of) that will help produce longevity that is desired with this project,” Staten said.

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About the Contributor
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.