Student Hunger: It’s Right Under Your Nose

When hunger is brought up in any conversation, it is usually seen as hunger around the world. People who are starving in Africa, or third world countries that have little food. However, people tend to forget that there is hunger right here in the U.S—and if we want to get specific, there is hunger in college.

Going Hungry in College

Many college students struggle with being able to afford food. In her article from the Washington Post, Caitlin Dewey explains how “Caleb Torres lost seven pounds his freshman year of college—and not because he didn’t like the food in the dining hall. A first-generation college student, barely covering tuition, Torres ran out of grocery money halfway through the year and began skipping meals as a result.”

College can be quite expensive, and it takes a lot of work to get through. With textbooks and tuition costs piling up on student’s shoulders, it can be hard to prioritize your spending—especially when students are raised to believe that you must have a college education in order to have a successful life.

How Colleges Are Helping

Colleges have started to recognize this situation with their students and create systems that can help. Here at Front Range Community College, there is a pantry where students can get food if they do not have enough money to afford their own.

Other schools hold food banks, as well as having housing systems. Dewey says, “Colleges are taking other steps as well. Some have altered their dining plans to cover more meals to offer more low-cost options, or have begun distributing free dining hall vouchers to students who need them. Others have partnered with nonprofits to redistribute unused meals to hungry students.”

What You Can Do

Front Range Community College is providing a Hunger Banquet on April 25 from 11:30am to 12:30pm. There will be free lunch, and a demonstration of the hunger that is moving through community colleges. How do you get to this you may ask? Our Westminster campus is located at 3645 West 112th Avenue. There will be plenty of signs giving helpful directions to the Rocky Mountain Room.

Come to the Hunger Banquet, and bring a friend or two—or even more. (If you can’t come, at least tell your friends. Help spread the word!) You don’t need to bring anything besides your attention and curiosity. We hope to see you there so we can help you have a good experience (and good food—I mean, come on) with your fellow attendees, and also understand the situation happening at many schools.

What Exactly is a Hunger Banquet?

As said before, there will be free lunch, but there will also be a demonstration of the social classes. Each person coming into the Rocky Mountain room will be given a character card, and will be directed to their station of seating. Attendees will get to be part of the working class, the middle class, or the upper class. The event’s student organizers will have a script that they follow to give you the experience of what it is like to be a college student going hungry.

As we go through the script, those who are participating will discuss the process of hunger. After that demonstration plays out, there will be a lunch break. (Did I mention that the food is free?) Then we will conclude the banquet.

Why do these social classes matter, and how do they tie into hunger? Since each class has a certain amount of income, they can only get a certain amount of food. Can you guess who can afford the least amount of food? What about the most? Participants at the banquet will get to experience this firsthand.

Ask for Help

There is no shame in being hungry, or asking for help. It’s ok to seek assistance if you need it. Don’t let pride get in the way. (If you see your friends going hungry, do not hesitate to offer help—there is always comfort in providing for someone.) Go to the pantry and get enough food for yourself.

Tell your friends and family what you are going through. You are not alone—and you may just find solutions with your loved ones. We hope you come to the Hunger Banquet and have a great experience with us!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Audrey Bowler is studying business and communications at FRCC. She hopes one day to be able to open her own shop.