Mr Mauricio Lozano Arbelaez1
1Aut Student Association, Auckland, New Zealand
Foodie Godmother is an Auckland University of Technology Student Association (AUTSA) initiative to help nurture the bellies and souls of AUT Students. Foodie was born out of AUTSA’s realisation that certain members of its student population were struggling with financial hardship and food insecurity. This included a lack of physical/economic access to nutritious food. AUTSA has established three student pantries on AUT’s primary campuses (City, North and South) to provide students with easily accessible pantry staples on an ‘as needed’ basis. Between 2018 to present, Foodie Godmother has helped over 1,500 students across the three campuses. AUTSA estimates that around 76% of these 1,500 individuals are international students. Feedback received by AUTSA suggests international students have found this project to be a big help. Approximately 18% of AUT students are international (5,400 students) and Foodie Godmother has assisted 30% of them, so the importance of finding a solution is clear. Foodie Godmother has also aided AUTSA in identifying those who may need further help. The association has been able to direct these students toward the appropriate university service based on their individualised needs.
Mauricio Lozano is the Student Engagement Coordinator of AUT Student Association. He arrived in New Zealand 3 years ago as an international student from Colombia and from this background, he understands the whole experience of international students from both sides. Being the lead of the project ‘Foodie Godmother’ has been a great opportunity for him and the Student Association to help and support international students, giving them resources to continue successfully with their studies. His main focus on the project is to create quality engagement with the students, knowing their stories, and offering immediate support.