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Students Team Up to Give to Big Orange Pantry

by Elizabeth McCarthy

Recently, the Big Orange Pantry received two generous donations from student organizations here on campus: Panhellenic Council in the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS). Both of these organizations felt strongly about donating to this cause, and representatives from each confirmed this.

“The Graduate Student Senate had our first fundraising event of a Halloween Costume Contest where several graduate students attended in full costume,” Davis Carter, GSS president said. “We know that many graduate students, undergraduates, faculty and staff use the pantry, and as a graduate teaching assistant myself, I don’t want any of the students I teach to go hungry. We as a campus should work to eliminate food insecurity as a stressor.”

GSS collected cash donations at the event as a registration fee for the costume contest, as well as from several spectators who attended the event. It was advertised by having senators email event flyers to the graduate students in their department, flyers were posted around campus, and it was even advertised via WUTK on the radio.

Caroline Touliatos, vice president of philanthropy and community service for the Panhellenic Council and Evan Oliver, coordinator for the Big Orange Pantry

The costume contest took place on Saturday, Oct. 30, and lasted from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Carter and all of GSS are extremely grateful to everyone who went, and they hope to raise more money for the Pantry in the future.

“As members of this community, we saw the increasing struggle of food insecurity, especially since COVID-19,” Caroline Touliatos, vice president of philanthropy and community service for the Panhellenic Council said. “When we learned about Big Orange Pantry and its incredible mission, we knew that we had to get involved.”

The Panhellenic Council collected donations through ticket sales for Sisterhood Showcase, a dance competition between the 13 Panhellenic chapters on campus. Ticket sales were open to everyone on campus and sold for $10.

“These two wonderful groups reached out to us first, and we are so thankful for the continued support,” Evan Oliver, coordinator for the Pantry said. “We often have student organizations, campus groups, and community partners that reach out to us with ideas of how to donate or raise funds.”

The Big Orange Pantry is a resource that provides emergency food services to students, faculty, and staff on campus, and they recently celebrated their one-year anniversary on November 4. Patrons can place an online order for non-perishable items and pick their order up anytime during the Pantry’s open hours, and they also have perishable items available as well. Food insecurity is, unfortunately, a popular issue in the world today, and the Pantry aims to help anyone at UT that they can by collecting food, toiletries, or monetary donations.

For more information on the Pantry or how to get involved, visit their website

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Elizabeth is a senior from Philadelphia, PA, majoring in public relations with a minor in business management. She has a passion for graphic design, social media and writing, and her favorite thing to do at UT is attending football games with her friends. She plans to move to Nashville after her graduation in May to pursue public relations and marketing.