A week after students at Spelman College started a hunger strike to stop food insecurity on college campuses, the school announced that it has reached a resolution to help feed their needy students.
Food insecurity—the condition of lacking reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food—is an epidemic that affects about 48% of college students in the United States, according to a 2016 study conducted by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness (NSCAHH) that surveyed 34 institutions of higher learning. According to a petition posted on Change.org, of the approximately 4,381 students at Spelman and Morehouse, “1,404 face food insecurity while on campus due to the lack of financially being able to afford a meal plan.”
To raise awareness about this issue and stop students from going hungry on their own campuses, about 25 students at Spelman and Morehouse began a hunger strike on Nov. 3. Their goal was to pressure college administrators into changing the school’s meal plan policy, which restricted students from sharing pre-purchased meals with students in need.
In response, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., issued a statement on Nov. 9 revealing that the students and administrator have worked out a deal to provide thousands of free meals to needy students for the rest of the year.
“Through the end of 2017, Spelman and Aramark are providing 2,000 meals and up to 7,000 meals during the second semester to current Spelman students who live off campus and who have a need for a meal. Beginning Monday, November 13, any current Spelman student living off campus who has a need for a meal can obtain a complimentary meal ticket from the Office of the Dean of Students to use in the dining hall. In the interim, if a student living off campus has a need for a meal, they will be accommodated by the dining hall. (All students living on campus have meal plans and, therefore, are not eligible for the complimentary meal ticket.), reads the statement.
“This annual initiative supplying up to 14,000 meals a year to students in need will supplement other efforts currently in development by members of the Spelman community to stem the tide of food insecurity on our campus. Our next goal is to analyze the results of our campus survey to quantify the depth of the problem and, also, to identify what other solutions might be implemented.”