UTF Spotlight: Fighting Hunger
Food insecurity is becoming a widespread problem on college campuses. Food insecurity can involve many factors, according to one article, and can range from a “student skipping meals to buy books” due to the “runaway costs of higher education,” or can be caused by “the gaps in the social safety net.” The fact that more nontraditional students are enrolling in college not right after high school may also contribute to this growing problem.
According to one source in the article, “[food insecurity] is sitting in a classroom hoping no one hears your stomach growl…it means spending time worrying about where to get food for the next week rather than studying for next week’s exam.”
While circumstances and severity differ, this is the essence of food insecurity.
If you’ve been here (or you know someone who has been here) take heart because food pantries have opened shop all over universities – including one here at USU.
USU’s Student Nutrition Access Center (SNAC) has been operating since 2010. Offering a variety of foods (including items from dining services), it is a great resource for any student needing a calorie recharge.
Sabrina Sage is a volunteer at SNAC and just closed out her experience as a UTF in the Food Matters class: an agricultural course which discusses food insecurity in communities and in the world. Part of the class is accepting a challenge to find a local cause that fights hunger. For this project, many in the class chose to volunteer at SNAC and Sage has jumped in as well.
Utilizing her role as a volunteer and as a UTF, Sage has pitched ideas to improve SNAC’s effectiveness and reach. By being for an advocate for SNAC in the classroom, Sage enabled several students to use creative means to promote the pantry. For example, some in the class used their creativity to make recipes for students based on the common items in SNAC; another made a video.
“I wanted to do my part as well,” the Mona-native said.
Sage has plans to continue assisting SNAC next semester. After that, the agricultural education major will be student teaching.
Employing her experiences as an ag science UTF and as a SNAC volunteer, Sage feels that she can promote causes such as this in high school: where she plans to teach. These high schoolers then, said Sage, can better plan and know what resources are available to them in the future. They can also know of ways to serve those “who are struggling to put food on the table.” Thus, these students will be better equipped to become more sustainable and help solve the hunger problem that exists in the world and on our campuses.