Got Ramen?

An NDMU 100 class plans a ramen food pantry for Notre Dame’s commuter students

By Micah Castelo

Are you a hungry and broke commuter student? If so, then you’re in luck—this semester, an NDMU 100 class is starting a food pantry for commuter students who can’t always afford to have a meal. With the closing of Gator Alley, the limited dining hall hours and the lack of conveniently priced food items on campus, it might be difficult for commuter students to grab a meal on the go.

Freshman Amirah Arafat came up with the concept as part of their NDMU 100 service project. “My teacher, Crissa Holder Smith, was asking us what we can do to help the community,” she explains. “I suggested two ideas, one of which was the Ramen Drive. I was busy during activity period so I didn’t have time to eat lunch. I came to class with a cup of ramen, and my friends and I were talking about how convenient ramen was.”

As a commuter student, Arafat understands this issue. There are commuter students who don’t have enough money to buy lunch at school or from the bookstore. They end up having to skip meals. “Although I have never been food insecure, people have asked around. And we have discovered how big of a problem that is,” she comments.

So how exactly does the food pantry work? Elizabeth Grasso, a freshman majoring in psychology, explains the logistics—there will be boxes with packs of ramen available to commuter students who need them. However, Arafat is surprised about the numerous steps they have to take. “I thought we could just get a big box of ramen and just put it somewhere and people can take it as they need,” she explains. “It turns out that we need permission from a bunch of people, and there are a lot of regulations.” For example, the class needs to figure out how to get donations in order to provide the ramen for the pantry.

The NDMU 100 class is still working on the location, but some ideas include the commuter lounge and Gator Alley. “If it’s in the commuter lounge, you can prepare it with the Keurig. If it’s in Gator Alley, you can use the microwave,” Grasso says. “Just bring your own bowl.” The food pantry is also strictly for commuters and is used under the honor code. “Take what you need, but not out of greed,” Grasso clarifies.

Meanwhile, Holder Smith, the Multimedia Instructional Technologist and Director of the Faculty Resource Center at Notre Dame, is very proud of her NDMU 100 class for starting this project. “I love that it is a service project to help our own community. I think the project helps my class remember to be inclusive of the commuter population, which sometimes does not have adequate representation when we make decisions or offer resources and events,” Holder Smith explains. “Additionally, after serving on a committee that reviewed the student handbook, I know that taking food out of the dining hall is an honor code violation, which some students are willing to risk in order to not get hungry. Providing them an option that is not an honor code violation is important.”

If you’re a commuter, then watch out for an upcoming announcement about the food pantry. If you would like to help out with the project, don’t hesitate to contact Crissa Holder Smith at

Photo by Flickr//bigbirdz.


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