A teacher’s passion for food and falcons


Brionna Scebbi

Photo of the Union Oval on campus.

Maddie O’Halloran, Reporter

“Kind-hearted, positive and passionate”– three words used to describe Shannon Orr, BGSU Political Science professor and Director of the Falcon Food and Resource Community and the Falcon Food Pantry.

Born in bright and sunny Windsor, Ontario, Orr said she knew she had a passion for teaching and research at an early age.

“I realized I missed teaching and that I didn’t want to do full-time research, so I interviewed at BGSU and I loved the students and community,” said Orr.

Her passion for food research and the food pantry started with the coronavirus pandemic and ultimately, the Olympic sport of curling.

Orr said she was the president of the board for the curling center just outside of Bowling Green and how that experience prepared her for opening a food pantry.

“I had never done anything like that,” said Orr. “Everything from construction to fundraising really made me understand how to open a food pantry.”

Orr has since left the board for the curling center, but still finds herself curling once a week and gives credit to curling for leading her to the path she is on now.

“I’m an avid curler,” said Orr. “COVID hit and curling shut down and I had a lot of time on my hands, so I messaged the Brown Bag Food Project in Bowling Green and asked if they needed any volunteers.”

Orr said her research and opening the food pantry really started with the Brown Bag Food Project, and it all took off from there.

“I got more and more involved with the Brown Bag Food Project throughout the pandemic and I learned a lot about food pantry management,” she said.

Orr said looking back she feels two periods in her life led her to open the food pantry: the pandemic and being the president of the curling center.

Colleen Gallaway, BGSU senior, Dietetics major and intern at the Falcon Food Pantry described the impact she feels Orr has had on her life.

“She’s just a great person and wants to help everyone,” said Gallaway. “She’s chosen that with her work and I have never met anyone so nice and helpful.”

Orr discussed her current research on the impact of COVID and food insecurity and how passionate she feels about this topic.

“My research is looking at the impact of COVID and economic hardships on food pantries,” said Orr.

“People need food, and they need food now,” said Orr. “I’m interviewing food pantry directors across the United States and getting their advice and figuring out what we could do as a sector to better meet the needs of people.”

According to BGSU’s website, Orr has received three awards and over seven grants for her research and field of study, as well as for the food pantry.

Bella Gammell, BGSU junior and Forensics major discussed how much she feels Orr has changed her life.

“She is definitely the type of person you can talk to and it’s like you’re talking to someone you’ve known forever,” said Gammell.

Gammell discussed where she thinks Orr will be in five or ten years and how her work will continue.

“Other than continuing the Falcon Food Pantry here, I can definitely see her going to surrounding schools and surrounding towns and helping the food insecurities there,” she said.

When asked where she feels she’ll be in five or ten years, Orr said she has a positive outlook and feels her research and community work will continue.

Orr said she would like to see the Falcon Food Pantry expand and even work to secure grants for students who would like to do research surrounding food insecurity.

“We have a lot of ideas for what to do next,” she said. “Really trying to find ways to expand the research and service we do here.”

Orr has brought her knowledge and service to BGSU and the surrounding community and says she will continue to bring her life-changing ideas to areas across the United States.

“We help to support the community and that’s something I really care about,” said Orr. “I want to use my work here at the university to try and help build communities.”