We already know that a college education is expensive as hell. Even with scholarships and financial aid, trying to just survive in college can be rough—that includes finding ways to feed yourself.
That’s why several Spelman and Morehouse College students are on a hunger strike. They hope to bring awareness to food insecurity on college campuses in general, and to convince school officials and campus food provider Aramark to modify the system to let students donate unused meals to their peers who can’t afford to pay for a meal plan.
It’s not a new idea. In 2009, the University of California partnered with a program called Swipe Out Hunger that works with colleges and meal providers to provide a means for students to give their prepaid meals to students in need or people experiencing homelessness in the surrounding community.
“By introducing a Swipe Out Hunger program at Spelman and Morehouse, we would directly impact student hunger and raise awareness on the issues impacting our fellow students experiencing hunger and homelessness while in college,” Spelman student Mary-Pat Hector explained to Crossroads News.
Joyce Davis, Spelman’s director of marketing and communications, released a comment saying that the hunger strikers raise a “very concerning” issue, of widespread food insecurity on campus, and the college administration will set a time to meet with the strikers to discuss the issue.
“In the meantime, we are engaging our vice president of student affairs, Darnita Killian, to determine the extent of the problem on Spelman’s campus,” Davis said. “No student should go hungry. We look forward to working with Aramark as we continue to explore the extent of the problem.”
A Morehouse spokesperson reportedly told press that she’s checking with administrators about the issue. Aramark, the meal plan vendor, said that college officials would have to request any changes. Meanwhile, Karen Cutler, a spokesperson for the company, said her employer can develop a plan with the college.