SHOP and Sloss House to open new Resource Room  


Ella Slade

The Resource Room is a new collaboration between The SHOP and Sloss House as a way to increase equitable access to resources on campus.

What began as Iowa State student Madison Mason’s research project on the SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), a campus resource for those experiencing food insecurity, has developed into the addition of a new initiative: the Resource Room involving multiple departments, staff and students. 

The Resource Room will include a dry goods pantry, basic need supplies such as menstrual products and toiletries, a limited number of clothing items and resources for student parents, like diapers and baby food. Just like the SHOP, this service will be fully confidential. 

The SHOP, Iowa State’s first on-campus food pantry, began in 2011 to provide resources and meals for students. It is located in Beyer Hall and run by student volunteers, and food is obtained through donations from around the community.

In March, the SHOP will extend its reach to the Margaret Sloss House for Women and Gender Equity with the addition of The Resource Room. 

The idea for The Resource Room was born during a meeting of the SHOP executive board.

“The staff at Sloss have been working with the SHOP exec board and supporting staff from Student Wellness to open a second, smaller location of the food pantry at the Sloss House,” said Ruxandra Marcu, the director of the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity.

The Resource Room is located in the Sloss House and will stock gender-affirming and menstrual products along with food and other toiletries. (Ella Slade)

Madison Mason, a senior in women’s and gender studies and the public relation and communications intern for the Sloss House, previously conducted a research project on the SHOP. In early stages of planning, Mason supplied the research and information that went into this project to aid in the development of The Resource Room.

“It’s my passion project. I’m really excited for this,” Mason said. “The SHOP does such a great job of serving so many students, and we just want to be a small part of that.”  

The project continued to grow from there.

“We also kind of developed it into more than just a food pantry, but also emulating what the SHOP does as a resource on campus for students,” Mason said.

Staff at the Sloss House aim to provide resources for students, while focusing on the center’s primary demographic.

 “[This is for] people who are parents, or pregnant students on campus, genderqueer and trans students on campus, and also just women on campus,” Mason said.

Currently, the Sloss House has a kid’s corner, complete with toys and books donated from Dog-Eared Books in Ames. The Resource Room will also provide formula and diapers donated from the SHOP pantry.

“There is a safe place for kids to exist on campus, and a space for students who have children,” Mason said.

Both the Sloss House and the SHOP operate on the belief that everyone deserves equitable access to necessary resources. The goal of the staff at Sloss was to go above and beyond with the project.

Staff also want to ensure that The Resource Room provides equitable access to available menstrual products.

“While there are free dispensers around campus, there are not enough around campus for everyone to get enough menstrual products,” Mason said. “They’re also only in women’s bathrooms, and that is an issue because there are people who are not women who menstruate.”   

Mason said staff at the Sloss House are currently working to provide items for gender-affirming care.  

The Sloss House recently got a new shipment of binders and compression underwear, as well as menstrual products.

“As someone who has used community aid like this, it saves someone’s life,” said Mason. “If you need something, go to the SHOP. Go to the Sloss Center. Make sure that you get the things that you need, because they are free, they are available, and we want people to take them.”

Sarah Schroeder, a senior in food science and co-president of the SHOP, said their members are excited to see a partnership with the Sloss House.

“At the end of the day we’re all fighting for the same goal of making sure that every student’s basic needs are being met, which does include more than just food,” Schroeder said.

The SHOP has been around for over ten years and continues to work toward establishing itself as a fixture on Iowa State’s campus and within the Ames community.  

“We want to do as much as we can to collaborate with other entities on campus that want to fight for that same mission,” Schroeder said. “At the end of the day it’s so cool to be able to partner together rather than compete with one another in that effort.”

The Resource Room will have a soft opening March 7, with a celebratory open house and grand opening March 30.