Arts & Sciences contributes 2,875 items to food pantry

Dean Dennis Papini challenged the departments in the College of Arts & Sciences to hold a food drive to help replenish the shelves at the local Harvest Table.

Close to 2,900 items were dispensed Sept. 29, during the Harvest Table meal served by volunteers from South Dakota State University.  The church distributes food pantry items the last Monday of the month, and SDSU had volunteered to serve dinner in September.

The inspiration for the food drive came from Delora Bennett, Geography Department secretary. She told Papini that the shelves at the First United Methodist Church Harvest Table food pantry were almost bare.

“There has been such a need since school started,” Bennett said. “Many students attend the monthly dinner and collect food, diapers and other items when they are there.”

Bennett asked the dean if the college would sponsor a food drive challenge among the Arts & Sciences departments.  She suggested that the dean’s office tally how many items were brought in and treat the winning department to root beer floats.

“It thought it was a great idea, one that is a great fit for our college’s emphasis on service learning and hands-on experiences, Papini said. “It was kind of a ‘no brainer’ for us.  Faculty members and staffers across the departments would engage in a little friendly competition and would provide much-needed assistance for residents from the community of Brookings.”

A total of 2,875 items were collected last week by departments and delivered to the Community Life Center for distribution at the Harvest Table on Monday.  The Chemistry Department, with over 43 items per person, took first place.

Second went to Geography with 21 items, third to Journalism and Mass Communication at 18 items.  Economics with 15 items was fourth and Sociology and Rural Studies with 11 was fifth.  The tally was based on items collected divided by the total number of faculty and staff per department to set a level playing field for department’s of different sizes.

“It was great to observe department faculty and staff pull together and make this happen.  All 16 departments in the college participated,” Papini said. “Special thanks goes to Delora Bennett for proposing the idea, and to Lori Maher, program assistant, and Erin Staniszewski, budget analysis for the dean’s office, who took charge of collecting the donated items from the departments and delivering them to the food pantry.”


ChemistryJim Rice, Chemistry Department Head, is shown with some of the over 1000 items collected by his department for the Harvest Table food pantry.

GeographyA request from Delora Bennett, Geography Department secretary, inspired Dean Dennis Papini to challenge all the departments in Arts & Sciences to help replenish the shelves at the Harvest Table food pantry.  She is in the photo above along with the items collected by the Geography Department.

Journalism Harvest Table

Terry Harris, Instructor; Jessica Jensen, lecturer; Betty Nelson, Program Assistant and Lyle Olson, professor and assistant department head helped Erin Staniszewski, Arts & Sciences Budget Analyst, load the items collected for the Harvest Table by the Journalism and Mass Communication Department.

Engl CSTTiffani Pirner, English Department Senior Secretary and Sara Flute, Communication Studies and Theatre Department Program Assistant, load up the cart with food and supplies donated by their departments for the Harvest Table food pantry.

MusicAndrew Robinette, assistant professor, helped to load the Harvest Table food pantry items collected by the Music Department.

Erin loadingErin Staniszewski, Arts & Sciences Budget Analyst, collects food and other items from the departments in the college.  Overall, close to 2,900 items were donated to the Harvest Table food pantry by Arts & Sciences.

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