May 27, 2022

IV has long been a desert for groceries, and the existing bus line to the Goleta Marketplace is not really functional for that purpose, so Romi and Lian Benasuli developed a detailed plan to have devoted shuttles that pick up students in IV at a few different stops (to reduce the challenges of lugging groceries long distances) and going directly to the Calle Real marketplace (which has Trader Joe's, Albertson's, along with international food marts, and a range of other options currently not accessible to most students). They committed themselves to find funding that will make the shuttle free for students and have been focused on overcoming the structural barriers to using such transportation (both existing problems with the current bus setup and other barriers to use). The result is that they are the first successful Student Funding Request tied to the use of existing funds from student fees. And it directly addresses food insecurity. This is the Nexus article that was published about their original plans last Fall: The kick-off will be next Fall, and, because they are juniors this year, they will be able to oversee the project. They are already working on ensuring sustainability, pending the outcome of the pilot year. 

They also will receive the Pahl Award for the paper they wrote for Professor Walid Afifi’s community engagement class, in which their plans were detailed based on research and data collection. "The Louise A. and Stephen D. Pahl “Making a Difference” Award was established to honor an upper-division undergraduate in the Division of Social Sciences who has written a course-related paper which applies learning, theories, or principles to real world contemporary issues, recommending systematic changes, social/political action, or other significant catalysts for improvement in society in general or for a specific local community."