Colleges Are Embracing On-Campus Food Pantries In a Big Way
No two ways about it: College life is stressful. Students have to juggle academics, new social structures, and finances. One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is food.
Increasingly, officials are recognizing the reality of food insecurity on campus, and doing something about it. More than 570 campus food pantries across the country are now registered with the College and University Food Bank Alliance. The Alliance, which was created in 2012, aims to create programs that fight hunger. One of their biggest success stories has been the creation of hundreds of on-campus locations where students can find healthy food.
The need is staggering. A recent report from the University of Wisconsin found 36 percent of 43,000 students attending two- and four-year colleges who were surveyed in 20 states had trouble getting enough to eat. The number is closer to 42 percent in community colleges alone.
Asking students to learn when they’re fighting hunger isn’t realistic. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple University sociologist and founder of the HOPE (Harvesting Opportunities for Postsecondary Education) Lab at Wisconsin, told The Associated Press that studies have shown food-insecure students are likely to have lower grades and graduation rates.
California and New York are leading the charge, with Governor Jerry Brown recently signing a law allocating $7.5 million to fight campus hunger, and Governor Andrew Cuomo launching an initiative making New York the first state to require on-campus food pantries at all 64 State University of New York schools
“There is no typical student who’s food insecure; it can impact any type of student,” Clare Cady, a Temple University official who is co-founder of the College and University Food Bank Alliance, told The Associated Press.