ORONO — University of Maine Honors Student Ambassadors Katie Tims and Bailey West are launching the “It’s Personal” personal care items donation campaign to benefit the Black Bear Exchange (BBE) on campus.
Through the donation drive, Tims, a fourth-year Honors biology major from Cornish, and West, a fourth-year Honors biochemistry major from Stockton Springs, hope to increase access to personal care items, decrease stigma around utilizing food pantries and fight food insecurity on the University of Maine campus.
Individuals who face food insecurity often struggle to meet other basic needs, and may go without necessities like personal care items, the student leaders say.
“Food pantries, including our campus food pantry, are often lacking much-needed resources such as personal care items, because they are unable to prioritize purchasing those items over food products,” said Tims, in a UMaine news release.
Last fall, the team hosted a “Giving Tuesday” drive that yielded over 500 donated goods for the BBE. They were awarded a $500 grant in December from the Maine Hunger Dialogue to fund their ongoing work.
The “It’s Personal” campaign seeks to foster friendly competition between units and organizations campuswide. The competition will be designed in a bracket system, with campus units competing to collect the most personal care items.
The campaign runs from March 1 until Maine Day, April 28. The campus group collecting the most donations of personal care products for BBE will receive a trophy. All individuals and fellow Black Bears are encouraged to support their favorite “team” and join in on the friendly competition.
The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.