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DeGroot: Our fellow students and food insecurity — where will your next meal come from?

Last December, I was walking through the plaza and was handed a flier that said “Rams Against Hunger.” It caught my attention so I stopped by the booth. It was here that I learned the shocking statistic that every 1 in 10 students at Colorado State suffers from food insecurity, meaning they do not know where their next meal is going to come from, if at all.

I was floored by this information. I was, and still am, disturbed that students among me, pursuing a degree to better their future, do not have access to food. It also shocked me that this issue isn’t discussed more among the CSU community. Sure, we all joke about being the stereotypical poor college student, living off of Ramen noodles and Folgers coffee. But I never thought this was as real of an issue as it is. In my mind, if you were able to get an education at an institution like Colorado State, you would surely have the resources to feed yourself in some capacity. But last semester, I learned that I was wrong.

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Rams Against Hunger is an on-campus initiative with the goal of alleviating hunger among college students. They are funded by donations from faculty members, family and alumni. According to their website, more than 2,800 students at CSU experience food insecurity each year. Since the start of the program in Spring of 2015, 197 students have been given access to meals. 

The issue of student hunger extends beyond Colorado State. Many colleges and universities around the U.S. are also struggling with student food insecurity, and there are national organizations who are working to end this issue at all universities. CUFBA, the college and university food bank alliance, is one of those. CUFBA works with universities in the U.S. to create campus-based programs to end food insecurity and poverty among college students by setting up food banks on or near university campuses where students can access food.

It is relieving to know that there are organizations who are working to address and end this issue. But more can be done at CSU for our community as a whole. In order to do so, the CSU community needs to be aware of the problem in the first place. Once everyone is aware, there will be more knowledge and traction to actually find a solution. As of right now, donations are the best way to help. For $6.50, you’ll be providing a student with a meal from one of the dining halls. $13o can feed a student for one month. 

Jen Johnson from Rams Against Hunger believes there is more than one way to combat on-campus food insecurity at CSU. 

“A few ideas: 1) Connecting students in need to community resources like the food bank; 2) Ensuring that students understand the financial process and maximize their financial aid options; 3) Raising more money for programs like Rams Against  Hunger to support students in need; 4) Being aware and working on issues like the rising cost of housing in Fort Collins.”

While it’s amazing that there is an on-campus resource for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford food and national organizations who are addressing this problem, this shouldn’t even be an issue at CSU. We are a community focused campus. There are many groups and programs that demonstrate just that. So why can’t be band together to end this problem and ensure that our community members are well-taken care of? 

To find more information about Rams Against Hunger and ways that you can help, visit their website

Collegian columnist Zara DeGroot can be reached at letters@collegian.com, or on Twitter @zar_degroot

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