Chatham’s class of 2023 unveils plan to upgrade essential needs corner


The entrance to Health Services in Woodland. Health Services is open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Photo Credit: Abby Hakas

Abigail Hakas

Chatham University’s class of 2023 is hoping to raise $2,500 for its senior gift project: a new essential needs corner in the Shadyside Campus’ Student Health Services building.  

Student Health Services currently has an essential needs corner, but former Class of 2023 President Zoe Wise ‘22 came up with the idea to improve it since the options are limited. She wants to expand it to accommodate dietary restrictions and have a wider selection of hygiene products beyond tampons, like razors and deodorant. 

The $2,500 will go to purchasing larger shelves and bins and creating a stockpile of non-perishable items. Future classes may need to fundraise to resupply it, Wise said, but the first stock will last several semesters. 

The project comes amid rising grocery prices that could potentially exacerbate food insecurity issues on campus. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that prices for groceries had risen approximately 12% since December 2022.  

Wise explains that students may not have the resources to afford necessities, especially with mounting costs. 

“It’s no secret that the price of groceries is going up. I know, a simple trip to the grocery store for a student might have been 30 to 40 dollars before COVID or even during, but nowadays they’re seeing prices exponentially rise. … and that’s not always attainable for students,” she said.  

Current Class of 2023 President Katie Crouch ‘23 is heading the project after Wise graduated. She says that students aren’t always able to make it to grocery stores during a busy semester, which is why the project is important to her. 

“It’s so hard to be able to go to a grocery store and get this stuff and the things that we’re going to be providing to people are things that are expensive, but everyone needs them,” Crouch said. 

The plan is not only to create something practical for students, but something beautiful too. Crouch, an artist herself, wants to have some aspect of the essential needs corner painted by Chatham artists, but the details aren’t concrete yet. 

“I know a lot of previous class gifts have focused on beautifying our campus, but I really wanted to make a lasting difference in the lives of our students,” Wise said. “I would love for people to donate because it is not just beautifying our campus, it’s making it more accessible for future students to come.” 

If readers want to donate, the fundraising campaign can be found by searching “Chatham University” on