The Fight for Summer Storage for First-Gen and International Students

April 15, 2024
3 mins read

Charlotte Korer ’27
Staff Writer

Reyna Manriquez ’26 and Bernice Abanda ’25 have been working to secure school-sponsored summer storage for First Generation Low-Income (FGLI) and international students at Scripps. Manriquez and Abanda felt that students who identified with these groups often had a harder time storing their things over the summer. For international students who fly halfway across the globe and have to pay for checked baggage they won’t touch over the summer, the process can be difficult and stressful. FGLI students who live as close as Los Angeles also find themselves in similar situations.

“A lot of times, students end up relying on their friends in order to adapt … that’s the role that the institution should play, but you know, they end up having to do all of that work on their own, or maybe through friends,” Abanda said. “If you’re going to bring people here, you should be able to support them through things.”

The original plan was to rent a storage unit for the summer and allow FGLI and international students to store their baggage. Pomona College has a similar system, allowing up to six boxes per person for those who need it. Abanda took advantage of this program last year but still ended up needing to send some of her things home with friends. After talking with Manriquez who has experienced similar problems, they decided Scripps needs a program like it. However, Manriquez and Abanda are trying to work through setbacks regarding money and space with the help of SAS President Lily Dunkin ’24. They are not worried about participation; they know students in the Scripps community need a program like this.

“I need a place to store my stuff over the summer because I can’t bring everything home,” Willa Baker ’27, an international student from Switzerland, said. “I can totally understand how this would also be a big problem for low-income students who don’t have places to store their things. Or for anyone in general who doesn’t want to deal with their mini fridge over the summer.”

Unfortunately, Abanda and Manriquez have faced challenges in finding institutional support and funding. But, with summer quickly approaching, time is running out.

“I’ve briefly brought it up to case management and Scripps itself as financial aid but they always say they don’t provide any funding for summer because students aren’t giving any money during summer,” Manriquez said. “But, people’s lives and financial needs are not paused at summer.”

Manriquez and Abanda looked to other options, not to much avail. SAS cannot directly fund the project because it becomes a liability to them. SAS can fund CLORGS, but it didn’t look like there would be enough money to support all the FGLI and international students who would rely on this program. And worse, Dunkin emphasized, they didn’t want to have to revoke the resource after a year or two when SAS runs out of funding for the program.

“We have to make sure that we’re willing to consistently show up for that community, and that SAS is not creating some sort of false promise, or that there is an expectation that then we’re not able to meet in the future,” Dunkin said. “So it’s not just about whether or not we can fund it this time, we have to make sure that we’re willing to fund it. And that might look like setting a term saying, we’re committing to funding a storage unit for the next three years, and in three years we’ll revisit.”

Earlier this week, the Funding Advisory Committee approved Manriquez and Abanda’s request for $500 towards the storage unit. While this is a great start, the two are well aware that it will take much more funding and resources to get this project on track. In a meeting with Manriquez, the administration explained that the SCORE budget can’t be used for planning because it is meant to be used for programming. After meeting with Dean of Students Dr. DeMethra LaSha “Sha” Bradley earlier this week, it seemed finding the remaining funding might be possible within other school-funded programs. However, being on such a time crunch, Manriquez and Abanda are committed to looking into other, more time-efficient ways to raise the funding.

Summer storage isn’t the only problem. “It’s about meeting students where they’re at,” Abanda said. “Accurately identifying student need. And right now, SCORE and Scripps College are falling short.”

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