Cascadia Market at OSU accepting SNAP

The Daily Barometer

Oregon State University began participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Jan. 6. Cascadia Market, located in the International Living-Learning Center, is the only place on campus currently accepting SNAP benefits.

The SNAP program allows expanded access for students currently using the service through the Food Pantry and Mealbux, both of which are offered on campus by the Human Services Resource Center, which provides food stamps, food boxes and other food-related programs.

Students with the program are eligible to purchase food items such as breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, meats, poultry, and dairy products, but not prepared foods, such as deli items.

Tara Sanders, OSU’s University Housing and Dining Services nutritionist, spearheaded the initiative to bring the program to OSU.

“We’re unique that we have a store this size. We want to encourage people to eat healthier foods,” Sanders said.

One reason it took OSU a while to become SNAP eligible was technical issues that complicated checkout for clerks and customers. Cashiers at Cascadia Market now have been properly instructed on how to assist those using SNAP.

Megan Patton-Lopez, one of the authors of a 2014 study called Prevalence and Correlates of Food Insecurity Among Students Attending a Midsize Rural University in Oregon, focused on research that explored the prevalence and underlying determinants of food insecurity on college campuses.

The study found that 59 percent of a college campus was food insecure.  Patton-Lopez is trying to get community and college-based stakeholders together to promote SNAP at OSU.

Food insecurity not only affects academic success, physical, and emotional health, but can also affect college students’ cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development, according to the study.

According to the study, students who were employed and worked an average of 18 hours a week were almost twice as likely to report experiences with food insecurity.  This suggested that financial assistance and employment were falling short of meeting financial demands of attending university.  

To be eligible for SNAP, students must be working at least 20 hours a week, take part in a state or federally financed work study program or get public assistance benefits under Title IV-A program of the Social Security Act.

To find out more or to sign up for SNAP, visit the Human Services Resource Center located in Snell Hall on the OSU campus.