Letter to the Editor: Hidden Food Insecurity

by Jack Davidson | 4/27/18 1:55am

Many Dartmouth students run out of DBA with weeks still left in the term and have to figure out how to get their meals from free food events. Pricey fruits and vegetables lead students to choose fried food over fruit salad. These are common occurrences at Dartmouth, but are they symptoms of a larger problem?

Many college students across the nation face a hidden challenge of food insecurity. A study published this month by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, which tracks equality of outcomes in higher education, found that 36 percent of students at four-year colleges had either low or very low levels of food security in the last 30 days. Colleges like Dartmouth are not immune to this problem: the Boston Globe found that at elite colleges, a “significant share of students are unable to afford even basic staples and [found] themselves skipping meals.” Although the Boston Globe noted that Dartmouth was working to solve food insecurity by providing groceries for students over break, even with required meal plans students may find themselves struggling to cover their food expenses during term.

Colleges such as Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California schools have recognized that a comprehensive response to the problem of campus hunger requires complete and current data. As a first step toward ending student food insecurity, administrators need to survey students to determine exactly what food insecurity looks like at Dartmouth, including its scope and its causes. Only after it fully understands how food insecurity affects its students can Dartmouth become a true leader in tackling hunger on college campuses.

— Jack Davidson

Davidson is a member of the Class of 2019.

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