VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Members of the community are looking to unmask the hunger that exists among college students while hosting a masquerade ball.

Details of the Unmask Hunger event were discussed at a news conference at the SUNY Broome Culinary and Events Center in downtown Binghamton today.

The ball will raise money for the Binghamton University Food Pantry which is located in the College in the Woods dining hall.

The pantry served over 500 unique students last semester and had more than 2,000 orders.
Recipients place their orders ahead of time and the pantry staff, consisting of graduate student organizers and undergraduate interns, packs their bag for pickup.

Graduate Supervisor Derek Tepe says they cater to a diverse population of students and staff and are also open to the community.

“We kind of pride ourselves in not passing any judgment on the users of this pantry space. We don’t know what students are going back to, what their living situation is, what their financial situation is. For example, we serve a lot of international students who might be on fixed budgets and a limited income. That really is part of the college experience for many people.”

The idea for the masquerade ball came from Noel Smith who is the leasing manager at 20 Hawley Street, a student housing complex owned and operated by Campus Life and Style.

Smith says he has met several students who struggle to find enough food to eat.

He says Campus Life and Style has a practice of trying to meet needs proactively.

“The university is part of the community. I think there’s always that stigma that it’s two separate entities. Knowing that, yes they are here for a season, but they do have the ability to help us flourish. So, them seeing more interaction from those who are here day to day, they are our future generation that we have the pleasure of bringing here and teaching.”

Tepe says 40% of college students in America are food insecure.

He says it’s especially gratifying to receive support from the broader community.
In addition to CS and L, IBM is a major sponsor.

The Unmask Hunger Masquerade Ball takes place Saturday March 11th at the Culinary Center from 6 to 9:30.

Formal or semi-formal attire is encouraged as are masks.

There will be hors d’oeuvres and specialty cocktails from PS Restaurant and music by Binghamton Philharmonic musicians.

Tickets are 100 dollars or 175 for a couple and can be purchased at