ESPN Interviews

ESPN Interviews Former SGA President on The Nest

Mehdi Husaini, former Student Government Association (SGA) President, was interviewed by ESPN about The Nest, Monmouth’s food pantry, to grow its’ exposure and continue conversation about food insecurity during half-time at Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 19. 

Husaini explained that the interview will benefit The Nest by not only continuing conversation with the general public but addressing food insecurity nationally. “It’s really important at this stage in the development of our own food pantry to have a good presence in the public eye to show that our campus culture promotes caring and compassion.” 

According to Husaini, the Department of Athletics was instrumental in arranging the interview.

Greg Viscomi, Associate Director for News Media and Communication, said, “I’m always trying to find positive stories to put out there, and I talked to our Marketing Director who mentioned the food drive on campus that two of our football managers were involved with as well.”  

“The food drive is a great thing for the university and I like that students are helping students, so I started to think about diffent ways we could spread the message  using relationships within  [the] department,” he continued.

Viscomi had commercial inventory time that was used to highlight student efforts.  

Monmouth’s ‘Hawks Helping Hawks’ program, which collects non-perishable food donations to help aid food insecurity issues on campus, is hosting a month-long competition against Kennesaw State (KSU) to see who can raise more money for their respective food pantries. 

“The Department of Athletics has graciously supported SGA in any way possible to help Monmouth win. This interview was an idea presented by Athletics to promote The Nest and our competition with Kennesaw to destigmatize food insecurity and help us gain momentum as we near the end of our food drive,” Husaini said. 

Michael Fazzino, SGA President and a senior communication student, explained that the interview is a way to publicize the Nest, since what SGA is doing with Monmouth’s food pantry has gained so much traction. 

“Being that this was the homecoming game, it was a great opportunity for ESPN 3, as the station recording it, to pick up on our story a bit, and it’s great for us to put it out there to a larger audience,” Fazzino said. 

From research Fazzino has done, other schools have food pantries, but it is rare for schools in this region. He said, “Brookdale has now picked up on it, and I was just speaking to someone at Seton Hall, giving them ideas about it. Schools in this region are now catching on, which I think is why [our story’s] become a big thing.”

The idea for a campus pantry came to SGA after attending a workshop at the Conference on Student Government Associations in Houston, TX. Husaini learned that nearly 30 percent of college students suffer from food insecurity annually.

As President last year, Husaini wanted SGA’s main goal to be fighting hunger at Monmouth. 

“This pantry is unique in the way it started as a student endeavor and is currently supplemented by other facets of the University,” Husaini said.

“There’s this stigma that Monmouth is this rich, expensive school that anyone who has money can go to,” Fazzino said. “I think that The Nest, the story around it, is taking people by storm because it’s signaling to people that maybe their perception might be wrong.” 

Viscomi added that “College students don’t always get the credit they deserve for trying to change the world in a positive way.”

Husaini concluded, “Even though [the interview segment] was short, I hope that what I was able to convey on air helps to rally more support for The Nest and Monmouth’s fight against hunger.

SGA has launched an online donation page on Monmouth’s new crowdfunding platform for monetary donations. The major push for food and monetary donations continuing until the end of the competition with KSU on Nov. 2.

PHOTO TAKEN by Matthew Cutillo