Kimberly Yavorski’s recent post for The Progressive, “Going Hungry on Campus: Students and States Turn to Food Stamps,” raises an important issue as we welcome students back on campus. Yavorski discusses a new study by the Urban Institute, which provides an in-depth analysis and demographics regarding food insecurity on college campuses. According to the study, “More than 11 percent of households with four-year college students experienced food insecurity in 2015.” The study further showed that when our students suffer from food insecurity, their grades suffer, and they are more inclined to be sick or have depression.
The post also quotes Sara Goldrick-Rab, Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University and another good resource on this issue. In the post, Godrick-Rab comments on previous studies of food insecurity among college students, which relied upon self-reporting. Yavorski writes, “The stigma and sense of shame around not being able to afford food, Goldrick-Rab says, means that previous research may have even underestimated the problem. ‘I’m afraid that the truth is a lot higher,’ she says.”
If you are a faculty member or adjunct instructor, take a look at your own institution. Are there resources for students struggling with food insecurity? If so, think about including them on your syllabus. If you’re a staff member, there are plenty of other ways to promote awareness of these services, and to minimize the stigma that may deter students from asking. If your campus lacks these resources, then it’s well worth working to put some in place – whether you’re a student, faculty, staff member, or adminstrator. There’s no reason for any of our college students to go hungry. Together, we can use our awareness to stave off food insecurity.