Engineering students address needs in the UH and Houston communities
It’s the season of giving, and students who are enrolled in the UH Cullen College of Engineering’s Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES) are making the most of it.
At the 2019 PROMES Holiday Party, an annual event, the PROMES scholars, staff and faculty gathered together 140 pounds of non-perishable food and personal care items to donate to the UH PEEPS Pantry, a free food pantry to help students in need.
The pantry is part of a larger initiative of the UH College of Education called the Personal Early Educational Performance Support, or PEEPS, program. It includes mentoring, tutoring and other efforts to help undergraduates thrive.
Minerva Carter, senior PROMES program manager as well as founder and manager of the Women of PROMES, made the food and essentials drive a part of this year’s party.
“As a college student, I couldn’t afford to stay on campus and had to purchase bus fare to attend classes at my University. Some weeks I had to choose between eating and paying for bus fare, and bus fare would be the most obvious choice because I had to continue excel academically to maintain my scholarship that paid most of my tuition,” said Carter, adding that she was reminded of her college challenges when a PROMES student mentioned she was homeless when the dorms were closed.
“There are many gifted college students who face the same dilemma today, basic needs insecurity,” she said. “This is why I thought it was important to add the food and personal care items drive to the PROMES Holiday Party and help raise awareness of the need that exists in our UH community and on other college campuses.”
According to data from the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), 30 percent of college students are food insecure.
In addition, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice National Real College survey recently studied the intersection of food and housing insecurity, as well as homelessness on campuses. The survey, with 86,000 students from 100 educational institutions from around the country participating, revealed that basic needs can vary over time and students may experience overlapping challenges throughout semesters.
Star of Hope Shelter Holiday Drive
Now the Women of PROMES is conducting a holiday personal care item drive in partnership with Houston’s Star of Hope Women/Family Emergency Center. The Houston office of BP, a British multinational oil and gas company and a sponsor of Women of PROMES, is also collecting items to donate to the holiday drive.
Items needed include socks, blankets, personal care products (such as razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes) and other hygiene products. Donations can be dropped off at PROMES, room 316 on the third floor of Engineering Building 2 on the UH main campus until December 20, 2019.
“There is nothing more powerful than a network of diverse individuals united in pursuit of a common cause. This is what builds community and inspires change,” Carter said. “This is what being a part of PROMES is all about.”
For more information, contact Minerva Carter at mgcarter [at] uh [dot] edu.
PROMES was established at the University of Houston in 1974 for the recruitment, retention and academic development of Hispanic, African American and Native American students in the Cullen College of Engineering. Today PROMES is open to all students in the college, and its mission is to provide a positive learning environment that supports the needs of undergraduate students.
To read more about PROMES, please click here.