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Sloss House celebrates Resource Room first anniversary

Joseph Dicklin
Attendees of the Sloss Resource Room one year anniversary celebration gather around a table making paper chains to hang on the walls, March 27, 2024.

The Resource Room at the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity celebrated its one-year anniversary Wednesday, highlighting its advancements in increasing food security on campus.

The Resource Room at Sloss House was created after a group of women’s and gender studies students chose food insecurity on campus for a feminist research class. This group of students met with Sloss House and Students Helping Our Peers (SHOP), a food pantry for Iowa State students, and discussed working together to create a service that provides basic needs to students. After this, the Sloss Resource Room with the SHOP at Sloss was born.

All the Resource Room products are donated, so the selection of available items can vary. These products frequently include food, parenting supplies, personal care items, hygiene products and books.

Other products commonly available at the Sloss House include shelf-stable food, spices, rice, diapers, wipes, children’s books, safe-sex items, menstrual supplies, gender-related care, dental floss, shampoo and books.

Jehan Faisal, assistant director of the Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity, stated since the Resource Room opened, the Sloss House has learned a lot.

“Spices are really important in helping people feel like their food is connected to home. Diapers are really expensive!” Faisal stated in an email response. “We have learned that people who use the Resource Room are incredibly generous with their own resources and often donate items or volunteer their time to keep the room going.”

According to Faisal, some of her favorite memories of the Resource Room are when students find something reflective of who they are.

“A student who delighted in seeing a can of ‘Vimto’ [a soda common in the Middle East,]” Faisal stated, “Another student who saw their favorite childhood book and left a joyful note inside for the person who would take it home.”

From March 2023 to February 2024, Sloss House had over 1,700 visitors.

In a survey done by the Sloss House, students selected the following statements regarding how the Resource Room has benefited them:

  • “Utilizing the RR lowers the financial/emotional stress I feel as a student” was selected 34 times.
  • “When I visit the RR, I feel like my identity (as a student, parent, international student, genderqueer student, etc.) is affirmed” was selected 36 times.
  • “A meal or snack from the RR has helped me focus in class on days I didn’t have enough to eat” was selected 32 times.
  • “The RR makes me feel like ISU is a place where we care for each other” was selected 31 times.

Faisal encouraged students who may be struggling with food insecurity to use the Resource Room, as the Sloss House aims to make students feel like they have a community and a safe place they can go.

“Every single one of us needs a community where we help each other and where we can receive help,” Faisal stated. “We are up against many cultural myths about self-reliance. Connection and interdependence are key to a strong community.”

The one-year anniversary celebration included an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The main goal of the event was interdependence and gratitude.

Students, staff and faculty were treated to cake during the event and also made paper chains, and attendees were asked to write things or people they are grateful for, which then were displayed throughout Sloss House.

With the Resource Room reaching its first anniversary, the continuous goal is to connect students in need. According to Faisal, the end goal is to continue sharing and helping one another even if they do not always have all the resources people need.

“Our biggest lesson is that, as we have said, Sloss holds the space, but the community fills it,” Faisal stated. “That has been true every day. Resource drives, individual donations and volunteers—we have an amazing community of care.”

The Resource Room is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Individuals can also access the Resource Room by appointment.

All through April, Sloss House is doing a collaborative art project for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday, students can drop into the Sloss House for a craft.

To learn more about Sloss House’s resources, visit their website or contact Faisal.

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