Local Food Insecurity
To the editor:
Food insecurity is the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food and in contrast to popular belief, it is rampant among college campuses. Food insecurity occurs right here at SUNY New Paltz, where residential meal plans cost at least $2,000 per semester. Despite the hefty price tag, over 40 percent of students enrolled in campus meal plans report experiencing food insecurity. Obstacles for obtaining sufficient quantities of nutritious food differ for off-campus students, many of which are also facing housing insecurity. According to Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger in America report, one in three college students report having to choose between food and paying for educational expenses which undermines the potential for academic success.
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week is approaching mid-November and we need to make the problems facing college students a part of the public discussion. Food pantries are popping up on college campuses across the country but this does not address the systematic causes of food insecurity in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. The college student’s “ramen noodle diet” is often joked about but it reflects a serious moral and ethical issue in our society where those seeking higher education are forced to sacrifice nutrition in order to cover the escalating cost of education. As a community, we need to bring attention to food and housing insecurity that affects students so that our elected officials will begin to initiate policy changes to address it.
SUNY New Paltz