On Nov. 13, Ithaca College’s Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life sponsored a panel discussion on food insecurity and food injustice. The panel discussion was also a collaborative effort of several organizations on campus, including Food for Thought, IC Environmentalists, Swipe Out Hunger, Challah for Hunger and the Poor People’s Campaign.
Food insecurity has been an ongoing issue on our campus: Many students have been struggling to balance the high costs of meal plans and food with academics and jobs. There are currently some resources in place, such as Swipe Out Hunger and the mobile food pantry, to aid students. However, these are largely short-term fixes and do not address the structural issues that allow food insecurity to happen. As The Ithacan has stated before, to fully resolve food insecurity on campus for the long-term, the college needs to implement a consistent program to ensure its students are fed.
The fact that the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life is sponsoring these critical discussions about food insecurity indicates the college is taking a step in the right direction. In order to create a program that would equitably afford its students food security, the college first needs to investigate and understand the issues students are facing. Conversations that allow students to publicly and honestly speak about their experiences with food insecurity, like the discussion that occurred Nov. 13, demonstrate the college’s investment in finding a solution that genuinely helps students. The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, as well as all other organizations involved, should be commended for starting a dialogue about an issue that affects many students at our institution.
William Guerrero, vice president for finance and administration, also communicated to the Student Governance Council that the Institutional Effectiveness and Budgets Committee is looking into ways to address food insecurity and lower the prices of meal plans. To hear that these issues are being taken seriously is reassuring because it is a confirmation that the college is looking for ways to implement structural change. Hopefully, the college is moving to implement these changes quickly, which would help many current and prospective students at the college.
The administration and campus community as a whole should remain steadfast in their investigation of how to resolve food insecurity at the college. Dialogues about food insecurity and opportunities to speak up about it should continue, and it is the administration’s obligation to see that a feasible, equitable solution is found and implemented for our campus community.