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Exempt Employee Association

EEA to PUSH back against student hunger

University students who find themselves the victims of persistent hunger have yet another challenge to their success in school. Helping them overcome that roadblock is the guiding principle behind the CWU EEA’s participation in the Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) initiative. Under PUSH, the university is committed to assisting students who are suffering from hungry by providing the vital resources that they need to thrive.

“It’s not enough to provide a scholarship that covers tuition. A hungry student cannot learn effectively,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino. “We have to feed the body before we feed the mind.”

Through the end of November, the university’s Exempt Employee Association (EEA) is conducting a campaign to gather food and clothing to ensure all university students have access to necessities.

Katrina Whitney, an EEA executive board member, pointed out that, “We want to provide the best possible opportunity for students to be academically successful by not having to worry about their basic human necessities, medical emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances that might come up.”

EEA has established PUSH food drop off locations in Black Hall 101, Bouillon Hall 204, Brooks Library, third floor of Farrell Hall, Hertz Hall 217, west entrance of Hogue Hall, Purser Hall 132, fourth floor of the Psychology Building, and Student Union and Recreation Center 250 and 253.

Students needing resources may also pick them up at the Black, Bouillon, Farrell, Hertz, Hogue, and Purser pantry locations. 

“The pantries evolved out of an idea of providing service to students to meet their needs right where they are,” Whitney stated. “At the end of each quarter, we see more students at greater risk of being food insecure based on the fact that they have had to pay for rent, books—all those incidental costs. So, a lot of times, students go without food, just so they can pay for the other things that they need. Pantry usage all over campus is way up this year and that’s a success for us—the word is getting out.”

Needed pantry items include canned and box food items, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, personal hygiene supplies, and clothes—including gloves, mittens, and warm socks.

In addition, monetary donations are being accepted through the CWU Foundation’s ( PUSH account. Whitney is an assistant director of the university’s Center for Diversity and Social Justice. She and, fellow CDSJ assistant director, Veronica Gomez-Vilchis co-manage the monetary account, which provides students with the means to buy groceries, though gift cards.

“Our heart is always to be welcoming and to create an inclusive campus for our students her at Central,” Whitney acknowledged. “This is an opportunity for us, as a university staff; to provide support for our students in a different way and go a little farther than we normally do, by providing them with staples and other necessities.”

PUSH is an effort by universities worldwide to end hunger and poverty, on both the local and global scales. In 2015, CWU joined nearly 100 other schools on five continents that signed the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security, a pledge to make ending hunger a core value of those institutions.

The Executive Committee of the CWU EEA helps address concerns and represent the opinions of the university’s exempt employees, as well as serving as a channel for communications among exempt employees in Ellensburg and at CWU University Centers, and with colleagues at other state higher education institutions. 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,


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