Searching for solutions for student hunger

By Tiffany Longcor
Flapjack Chronicle

Almost any student can confirm the starving student narrative is very true. Many students are living on and off campus with little or no food to eat. 

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, explained her situation with food insecurity while living off campus.

I do okay for a little bit after my paycheck comes in,” she said, “but once I have to pay all my bills and rent, I run out of money and then food.”

She explained how she bought rice in mass at the beginning of the semester, but even that is has run out at this point in the semester.

Pretty much I eat a lot of top ramen. It’s getting really old, honestly,” she said.

Food insecurity has been recognized as a problem on campus by a couple of different organizations, specifically the Associated Students Council (AS) and HSU’s Center for Service Learning and Academic Internships (CSLAI).

Last semester Associated Students had the CSLAI conduct research about the issue of hunger among college students. The research was done by student, James Barnett, a student working for CSLAI. His research confirmed that students were definitely in need of some sort of resource to get food. Barnett suggested that students use the resources that are already available rather than creating a new food pantry or community garden on campus.

Most of the students taking the survey weren’t aware of the off-campus options already available,” Barnett said.

He also explained that creating on campus options would create unnecessary competition between the already established food pantries that serve the whole community and the future on campus options.

The Humboldt State pantry would pull from the same resources that Food for People [the local food bank] would,” Barnett said,  “and it create competition and then the entire community would suffer.”

Regardless of Barnett’s suggestions, the AS Council is still working on some on campus options. AS president, Jacob Bloom explains that food insecurity has been an issue that several AS councils have been aware of and have been trying to solve this problem. Bloom explained that that there are some options in place, such as emergency meal plans that are in administrator’s boxes, but they are not really accessible to the average student. So they are also working on creating an on campus food pantry and a community garden.

I really work on facilitating the ability to get the follow through on these programs,” Bloom said, “I try to get the big problems out of the way so people like Jackie can get stuff done.”

Jackie Martinez, member of the AS Council and CAHSS representative, has been very involved in combating food insecurity with college students.  A group of people have created the “Food Insecurity Taskforce” which come together to discuss strategies to address the issue. 

Martinez explains that she thinks the off-campus options are not easily accessible to students. A food pantry is located near the Behavioral and Social Studies building, but it is only open on Saturday’s from 10 a.m. To 12 p.m..

The majority of students spend most of their time on campus and it makes sense to have the resources on campus,” Martinez said, “I think that referring students to the local pantries is great, though I don’t think it’s enough to address the problem.”

Martinez and the rest of the Food Insecurity Taskforce will continue to search solutions for the problem of food insecurity among students when they meet again this month.

I think it would be great to have options for getting food on and off campus,” the anonymous student said, “It would be nice if I could focus on finals rather than food.” 


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