Food Security Guide for Graduate Students

One thing the BU Department of Religion wants to address is the reality that many graduate students in our program struggle to make ends meet—and for some, that means they don’t always have enough money to buy adequate food. While we cannot fix everything, we are hoping we can at least address this at the department-level and, potentially in the future, on the university-level. 

Current stipends are inadequate given high local housing costs and, in any case, it’s a long time between the last spring check and the first fall check. The GPR cannot change stipend amounts or unilaterally alter the timeline on which the university distributes its resources much less do anything about the Boston real estate market. However, if you sometimes struggle to feed yourself (and maybe your family), we want to help. 


The Boston University Department of Religion will distribute free grocery store gift cards for all incoming graduate students at orientation. Should you need more gift cards throughout the year, please see Ryan Sullivan in his office (145 BSR #301) or contact Graduate Student Association President Kira Ganga Kieffer ( That you have asked for and/or received a card will be totally anonymous to BUR faculty.

We are also working on implementing a food pantry available to any graduate student who needs food items. Our department will host the pantry in one of its downstairs cabinets, which will be accessible to graduate students when the building is open during the day.

We will be trying out a weekly community lunch on Mondays from 12:00pm-1:30pm during the fall semester. Feeding grad students is our primary focus, but we’re also aiming to foster community. Lunch will be served in the Common Room on the second floor. All are invited!


While Boston University does not have a university food pantry program, you may be able to get an advance on your September stipend. Emergency loans are also available for graduate students. See for more information.

  • Graduate students are able to utilize convenience points in order to purchase food or enter the dining halls. These convenience points do act as cash at different locations on campus. This can be set up through your Student Account under the yellow Food and Shelter Tab where you will choose the option, ‘Convenience Points Purchase’. This will add the convenience points to your card and automatically charge your student account.
    If you need additional resources you can call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 ( can help sort out which resources are close to you and fit your schedule and help you determine if you’re eligible for benefits like SNAP and WIC.
    We encourage you to reach out to Project Bread for information about local resources.