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Students Want Affordable Food; A San Jose State Story

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Our society has organized the institution of higher education as a privilege rather than a right. In this case, it’s an exclusive ordeal that costs thousands of dollars every year just to attend. The majority  of university campuses maintain a culture of expensive prices on our vital  resources such as  books, electronics, class codes, and even food.

A group of students at San Jose State University have banded together to form a social action group regarding food accessibility. Students Want Affordable Food, also known as SWAF, has created a goal to make the food provided on campus reasonably priced so that all students can afford their meals. I conducted an interview with SWAF member Maxine Mastin to learn more information about their organization’s message, journey, plans, and more. 

Q: How did you come together to plan and form this organization?

A: “We brainstormed issues to recognize on campus and noticed that most people in class were in agreement that food prices are too high. Food is essential to academic success, and thus we wanted to make it easier for students to afford food while attending SJSU, considering tuition and inflation has wreaked havoc on the majority of students.” 

Q: What is the overall goal [of]  your organization?

A: “To lower food prices in the student union and make it affordable for students which we determined [should be lowered to] about $7 per meal”

Q: Do you have any plan[s] set in motion that work toward accomplishing this goal?

A: “We contacted Associated students, Spartan Daily, and rallied across campus. We also surveyed students, of which we got 161 responses and drafted a petition that got 30 signatures.”

Q: How has the journey been in becoming an organization [for]  this cause?

A: “It has been difficult, fun, and intimidating. It is hard to find [someone] to contact and to get a response. It has been fun brainstorming ideas and learning how to make social action happen and intimidating to rally and get the word out by peacefully marching and shouting our needs to the student body on campus”

Q: Do you feel there should be more emphasis from the students and faculty on [these] issues?

A: “Definitely, it affects us all and should be something everyone cares about. It is a silent problem, almost swept under the rug. Food insecurity is a real problem at SJSU and needs to be recognized and addressed.”

As a student at San Jose State University, I too agree with SWAF’s message that the food is too expensive and that there needs to be change! Students have to face hunger at school when they are already paying thousands in tuition. Food should be affordable for all students.

SWAF is a powerful and passionate organization making a difference in our community. I would like to thank them for taking the time to agree and participate in this interview, with a special shoutout to my interviewee, Maxine Mastin! 

Have you related to SWAF’s message? Let us know at @HerCampusSJSU

Muimina Abdella is a fourth year sociology major at San Jose State University with a passion for writing. Amongst many, her article niches include relationships, entertainment, and lifestyle. When she is not writing, you can probably find her at your nearest concert or coffee shop!