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Starving Artists? More Like Starving College Students

A CMN feature on a recent college student hunger study.

Lindsay Wigo

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A few weeks ago, a Wisconsin HOPE Lab report found that many college students do not have enough money to eat or to establish comfortable housing while studying in school.

The Wisconsin HOPE Lab and Temple University reported that in a survey, 36% of university students and 42% of community college reported that they had a shortage of food in the last 30 days.

College Media Network took to some college campuses and talked to three students about food insecurity and why they feel that this is an issue to address.

“I wish that it was surprising to hear that college students are experiencing food insecurity, but I’m not,” Maysville Community and Technical College junior Sarah Fields said. “I know that I myself have spent weekends living off of water and canned tuna because my meals got used up during the week.” Fields believes that colleges could help with food scarcity by organizing food drives and other organizations that can help feed students over the weekend.

“When I attended Morehead State University, there was an office where you could go to get low-cost foods like ramen as well as toiletries,” Fields told CMN. “It would also help if there was greater flexibility in working hours for both work study jobs on campus and for jobs off campus.”

Sophomore University of Delaware student Sarah Cottrell does not feel that she has ever been in the 36%, but understands how those situations are possible.

“I am a sophomore and still live on campus, therefore I have a meal plan,” Cottrell said. Cottrell explained that the dining hall near her dorm is Caesar Rodney Dining Hall, one of the best college campus dining halls in the country. However, she understands not every student has access to a dining plan.

“Next year I will be living off campus and my situation will certainly change. I’ll have to grocery shop, and I think that’s where a big issue of food insecurity comes in,” she said. “I believe in order for campuses to reduce food insecurity [for their students], there should be dining halls with healthy and various options, grocery stores near campus, as well as farmers markets nearby.”

DeSales University junior Kara Baka explained her thoughts on these food scarcity statistics.

“Yeah, I believe that [percentage] completely,” Baka said. “The price of food can be so high and students are stressed they don’t have that money, so they just choose not to eat.”

Baka mentioned how the cost of water can be a problem on campuses, too.

“The fact that it’s a dollar and 85 cents for a bottle is insane,” Baka said. “Let’s say I buy 2 water bottles a day. That’s a lot of money for the week’s bare minimum of water.”

Another University of Delaware student, sophomore Alayna Mastrippolito, connected this statistic back to the price of healthy and unhealthy food.

“It’s not right that college students can’t always choose healthier options because we can’t afford the cost.”

How do you feel about these statistics? Tweet us your thoughts on college student hunger! @coll_media_net

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting College Media Network's mission to support the next generation of journalists. For as little as $2 a month, you can help keep our site ad-free and the future of journalism alive. Go here to donate.

Lindsay is a journalism student and is excited to be working with College Media Network as a writer/reporter. She hopes to work in the journalism field in the future as a features and profiles writer. For more of her work, visit her website: www.lindsaywigo.com

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