CALS Wellness Committee tip: The Open Seat food pantry supports UW students, employees

Did you know that UW–Madison has a student-run food pantry called The Open Seat? With the end of the semester approaching and winter break around the corner, now is a great time to contribute to this Associated Students of Madison (ASM) organization.  

“The Open Seat strives to alleviate the stresses of food insecurity by providing friendly and accessible sources of food for the students of The University of Wisconsin–Madison,” according to the organization’s website. The Open Seat will provide any food insecure student or staff with a box of food that is packed and distributed by The Second Harvest Food Bank. Boxes contain various food items including dairy, dry goods and produce, and come in 10–15-pound sizes. Boxes can be requested in advance using a Google form that should be filled out by Thursday at 12:00 p.m. the week before desired pick up.

ASM also runs a physical pantry located on the third floor of 333 East Campus Mall, in which students may pick up free dry goods, or toiletries, with the only stipulation being that a student only take what is needed. There is a current initiative to get an additional Open Seat Pantry location at the Eagle Heights Community Campus. 

If you are interested in donating, there are drop-off locations throughout campus in which you may donate goods to The Open Seat. A map of campus drop off locations can be found here. Items accepted at the large, yellow drop-off bins (pictured) include canned goods (not expired, no dents or rust) and other non-expired, unopened non-perishable goods. All items must be in original, sealed and legible packaging to be used. In addition to food items, unopened items like toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap and feminine hygiene products are also accepted. If you would like to host a food drive or invite The Open Seat to your next campus event, please contact

For those that would like to support The Open Seat monetarily you can make a secure, online donation. “One-hundred percent (100%) of your donation will be used to purchase items to stock the pantry.” If you have any additional questions, or would like to contact someone about picking up a donation, please reach out to: