“Potluck,” a public student art project on the first floor of Penfield Library, shines a light on the services of the SHOP (Students Helping Oz Peers) pantry on campus as well as the issue of food insecurity.

The installation depicts hunger and nourishment by showing five large plates ranging from empty to full. The food across the five bowls shows items that are available to those who use SHOP services –- such as beans, mixed vegetables, pasta and rice.

In addition to non-perishable food items, SHOP –- located in the basement of Penfield Library –- provides toiletries, personal health products, and professional and winter apparel.

“Potluck” started as a commission by SHOP organizers with art faculty member Benjamin Entner to bring attention to their services as well as the pervasive problem of food insecurity. Entner chose to turn it into a learning opportunity for students in his Intermediate Sculpture class.

Seniors Suzan Bean and Caitlin Marx, who led the project, noted that they appreciated the opportunity to create such a public piece and to learn so much in the process. Other participating students included Paul Cwickla, Julie Mesali, Brandan Meyer and Jessica Wiggins.

“We all came to visit SHOP, and that was very helpful,” Marx said. “And this was my first collaborative art project, so I learned a lot.”

“I enjoyed learning about the collaborative process, and the importance of communicating properly,” Bean said.

This collaboration as well as the idea of building community both reflect the work’s theme, as an artist’s statement notes that a potluck is “about having a meal that brings any food and anybody together.” 

“I liked that our efforts were helping people learn about SHOP,” Bean said.

“It’s great that we were able to present the theme that SHOP is here to fill your plate,” Marx said.

About SHOP and the Student Emergency Fund

Open on the SUNY Oswego campus since 2016, SHOP is walk-in and confidential. Together with the university’s Student Emergency Fund, these offerings represent the institution’s broad support for student needs.

Those using SHOP for the first time using SHOP should fill out a new users form. Orders can be placed online via the SHOP Pick-up Form. Orders will be filled within 48 hours and placed at the Online Orders table in the front of SHOP. 

Orders are available for pick up during SHOP’s open hours: 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 2 to 5 p.m. Fridays and by appointment on Saturdays. Those needing to pick them up outside of those hours can email shop@oswego.edu.

For more information on SHOP and its services, visit the SHOP website or email shop@oswego.edu.

The Student Emergency Fund provides support for students facing unexpected hardship or an emergency. For more information or to apply for support, visit the Student Emergency Fund website.