Shop Campus is the New Buy Local: Sponsored by the WKU Store

A student shops local at the WKU Store. 

Max Zambrano

The jingle of change dropping into donation jars is the embodiment of shopping local in action, and it is a sound often heard around The WKU Store.

This semester, The WKU Store has partnered with Aramark and the WKU Food Pantry, operated by the Office of Sustainability, to further enhance their “Shop Campus” initiative. The shop campus movement means that money earned by The WKU Store is not just a profit for the university to support students, faculty and staff, but they also give back to the entire Bowling Green community.

Sarah Sears, the marketing coordinator at The WKU Store, said, “Just the old fashioned loose change in a jar collection has allowed The WKU Store to give significant donations to a variety of charities and causes for at least the last 10 years.”

Since its founding in 1923, The WKU Store has strived to invest back in the university and in the community. Purchases, including donations, are an investment into making WKU a better campus and Bowling Green a better city.

Sears said in years past, The WKU Store has given donations to a variety of charities including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Kelly Autism Program, Toys for Tots and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation’s Special Olympics.

The new partnership with Aramark and the WKU Food Pantry Program has created the Feed a Friend Campaign, which is designed to help students eat at Fresh Food Company who otherwise couldn’t afford the cost. A table is set up in front of Fresh on Fridays during lunch hours, and people are encouraged “feed it forward” and donate money toward the purchase of a meal ticket for another student.

Sears said the Food Pantry is a great resource for students, but sometimes those students may feel isolated or embarrassed.

“The WKU Food Pantry is constantly being stocked with canned food drives and that is wonderful,” Sears said. “However, we wanted to offer the students who come into the WKU Food Pantry an alternative to just leaving with a can of soup.”

The idea is that the students will not just have a can of soup they can eat in their residence hall, but also be able to eat with their friends at Fresh.

“While we are a retail entity that seeks to bring a significant profit back to the university every year, we also understand that being a part of the student experience on campus allows us to offer helpful and unique support services — and more than that, we are able to build and strengthen relationships all over campus and Bowling Green in a way that humanizes the business with familiar faces and a sense of heart,” Sears said.

Students are encouraged to donate while selling and returning used books at the end of the semester. Jars can be found at the registers in the store, where students can shop campus and feed it forward.