College students joke about being poor and eating ramen noodles or popcorn for dinner, but at California State University an alarming 1 in 5 students actually does go hungry. This issue is finally being acknowledged in a conference that will be held next week to find a solution.
This information was brought to the attention of the school after Tim White, CSU Chancellor, called for research on food insecurity and homelessness among students and was met with some unexpected results. Because of the concerning rate of hunger from this 2015 investigation, the university is continuing to research the source of the hunger issue.
In response to these concerning findings, other students have set up food pantries and used the CSU-Long Beach’s “Feed A Need” organization to donate meals. In fact, university officials believe that spreading awareness of the many options for homeless and hungry students is one of the keys to solving it. The Huffington Post reports that the conference is hoping to address this problem because approximately half of the surveyed students at CSU weren’t aware of the options they have.
With such a high rate of hunger, and a borderline homelessness rate of 1 in 10 students, it would seem like CSU’s crisis would be openly apparent. However, Amber, a Long Beach student, told Huffington Post that this statistic isn’t obvious because “[homelessness] is very sensitive—not everyone’s talking about it…it’s a stereotype; being homeless means some of us are sleeping in cars, in friend’s houses.”
Being a student and juggling papers, deadlines and studying is difficult enough; adding hunger or homelessness to an already demanding workload is a problem that no student should have to deal with.
“Students should be focused on their education—but this focus is hard to maintain for those who do not know where they will sleep or when they will eat their next meal,” White told The Los Angeles Times back in April..
Hopefully the upcoming conference will provide some tactics to solve this problem and let college students worry about school instead of hunger and homelessness.