Cats’ Cupboard could get up to $480,000 in bond surplus funds from a pending SGA proposal

Food insecurity affects 40 percent of Kansas State students. SGA hopes to combat that issue with it's proposal to allocate bond surplus dollars to the Cats' Cupboard. (File Photo by Katelin Woods | Collegian Media Group)

Cats’ Cupboard could get as much as $480,000 over the next six years added to their budget if a proposal from Student Governing Association passes through student senate next week.

“It is a pretty big deal to pull it out of bond surplus,” Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering, said during student senate on Thursday. “There are a lot of moving parts here.”

Every year, for up to six years, Cats’ Cupboard would receive $80,000 from surplus in the bond accounts for the Union Renovation and Expansion and Recreation Complex Expansion.

The two bond accounts have approximately $3.34 million available for campus projects. The account is required to have at least $1.5 million due to payment restrictions, and surplus dollars are required to be used on projects that benefit student life.

As for the proposal for the Cats’ Cupboard, the allocation would be subject to review by student senate every three years like an entity that receives funding from the privilege fee. The funding contract could be renewed for an additional three years at the discretion of student senate.

“If in three years, if student leaders see a need for this to be extended … then a concerned senator or student leader can bring it to the senate,” Ali Karamali, vice president and senior in chemical engineering, said. “We want to make sure, at least for three years, they have the opportunity to have part of their budget supplemented.”

The additional funds would be used for emerging projects and the operational budget.

Penny said $30,000 will be used for “emerging projects and initiatives” like refueling stations — small locations away from the main location of Cats’ Cupboard where students can pick up food and other essentials — or cooking classes.

Sarah Barrett, founder and supervisor of Cats’ Cupboard, said new initiatives would include making fresh food like fruit, vegetables, ground beef and dairy products available to students.

“We’re thinking about a new partnership that’s expanding through bakery science so students can actually bake. In doing that, we have some … classes that we’re teaching on a regular basis,” Barrett said. “So, not only providing students with the resources that they have, but also understanding the skills … that they can begin to accumulate.”

Barrett said an industrial-sized refrigerator was acquired after the K-State Student Union renovation in 2014. By partnering with Call Hall and the department of animal sciences and industry, she said there are plans to store fresh foods.

The remaining $50,000 will be used for operations every year, and will cover salaries for Sarah Hoyt, operations lead, and Erin Bishop, community outreach advocate.

“We’re a pretty lean organization,” Barrett said. “We’re open around 30 hours a week, which is unheard of in the world of college food pantries.”

The revolution will be voted on Feb. 13.

My name is Bailey Britton and I am the former editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I have been the assistant news editor and the managing editor. I have also interned for the Manhattan Mercury and the Colby Free Press. I grew up in Colby, Kansas, and I am a junior in journalism and English. Through the Collegian, I aim to provide the K-State community with quality news coverage while we learn to serve our campus.