The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will not hold its annual campus-wide picnic BBQ @ Bailey this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While students, employees, and alumni won’t celebrate this beloved tradition that kicks off the new semester together this year, the UA Little Rock Alumni Association has decided to celebrate by donating the money designated for the event to campus organizations that provide food to those in need.
“BBQ at Bailey has become an awesome event that we look forward to each year! However, during this Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring the safety of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff is of the utmost importance,” said James Bobo, president of the UA Little Rock Alumni Board. “Therefore, the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors decided that in lieu of our 2020 BBQ @ Bailey event, we will donate the dollars ordinarily spent on the event to the Trojan Food Pantry and the Campus Garden.”
The picnic-style event is usually held at the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center on the UA Little Rock campus and is hosted by the UA Little Rock Alumni Association. It’s a fun way for the UA Little Rock community to enjoy some great barbecue, fun, and fellowship as well as an opportunity to join or renew their Alumni Association membership.
“This would have been the 14th annual event, and we are disappointed that we are unable to provide an in-person way for our community to celebrate the beginning of another academic year,” said Kristi Smith, senior director of development and interim director of the UA Little Rock Alumni Association.
The UA Little Rock Trojan Food Pantry is open to all UA Little Rock students, faculty, and staff. A recent survey found that 50 percent of the university’s students and staff either know someone who is food insecure or suffer from food insecurity themselves.
“The Trojan Food Pantry has made a great impact on the UA Little Rock community,” said Corrigan Revels, assistant director for student leadership and development and coordinator of the Trojan Food Pantry. “This year, the pantry is more important than ever, and we are truly thankful to have the support of the Alumni Association. This support allows us to continue serving and supporting our Trojan family.”
The UA Little Rock Campus Garden is a place for education, research, and outreach about food production, sustainability, economic botany, ecology, and more. Much of its food harvested from the Campus Garden is donated to the Trojan Food Pantry.
“The Campus Garden has been a vital part of UA Little Rock and the surrounding community for many years,” said Dr. Stephen Grace, faculty advisor of the Campus Garden and associate professor of biology. “With the economic and social hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission to provide fresh local produce and educational opportunities for people wanting to grow their own food is more important than ever. This generous donation from the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors will enable us to continue our efforts to build a vibrant, sustainable food system to serve the needs of our campus, city, and the people of central Arkansas.”