|Could one of these students be in need of food assistance? Would you know?|
Historically, college campuses and the educational experience associated with them was a privilege only given to the affluent, or those with the resources to afford the considerable cost. But with strides in access have come students for whom college is more of a financial hardship.
Thought Catalog published a humorous list of 30 Things You Experience When You’re Broke that features many situations we consider to be hallmarks of the college experience. But for an increasing number of students, the dire straits of paying for college are more serious than Thought Catalog could have ever imagined.
SNAP has provided a slight reprieve for more and more of those students over the past several years. In fact, the Washington Post reports that the state of Virginia went from disbursing $470,000 in SNAP assistance in 2007, to over $2.2 million roughly five years later. Stigma surrounding this form of assistance is lessening, and students at prestigious institutions such as Howard University are openly talking about SNAP and how it is helping them live through college.
What are colleges and universities doing to help with this problem? With many schools sustaining programs that have the goal of lessening hunger in the world and in the surrounding community (Loyola of Chicago’s Hunger Week, the consortium of colleges involved with Universities Fighting World Hunger, University of Georgia’s Campus Kitchen, and Emmanuel College’s own Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week are programs that my attention has been drawn to), students are made to understand that food is not something that everyone comes by easily. However, a few campuses are going above and beyond to ensure that their own have a secure source of food. I plan to highlight a few here, and hopefully write in depth about other initiatives later in the month.
I first became interested in combating hunger on college campuses when I worked with Florida State University’s Food Pantry. Located in the Dean of Students office, students can present a photo ID to obtain a bag of food whenever it is needed. Calls for frequently requested items are put out to students, faculty, and staff, and boxes are always available in campus offices to house donations. What’s more, the director of the program solicits recipes from faculty and staff to help students build coherent meals from the items they pick up.
Crunching Some Numbers
Wiggle Room, and Life Getting in the Way
The Pantry Problem
HOW Will You Do It?
Oh SNAP! Introducing SNAP Challenge 2013