Starving should not be part of the college experience

MSU Sociology in Action Student
Guest Writer

I do not believe starving should be part of the college experience. Students shouldn’t be worried about where their next meal is coming from while sitting in class, or worried about how much money they will have leftover for food after paying their bills, but they are.

The problem of hunger is referred to as food insecurity in the academic literature. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to affordable, nutritious food. Even if you yourself have never dealt with food insecurity, you probably know someone who has (even if you don’t know it) because college students have been found to be four times more likely to experience food insecurity than the general population.

We are not immune from this problem at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In fact, the problem is even worse here than what studies have found at other schools. Here, a majority of students are experiencing food insecurity. In total, 64 percent of our student body is experiencing food insecurity and 40 percent of students surveyed are experiencing this problem at high or very high levels.

How do I know this? My Sociology in Action class has taken it upon themselves to conduct a study based on food insecure students on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. We surveyed a random sample of the student body, conducted interviews with students, and have been researching and assessing what resources hungry students currently have available to them.

We found that the most prevalent problems among our students are many students are running out of food before there was money to buy more (48 percent), being unable to afford balanced meals (48 percent), worrying about food running out (39 percent), needing to reduce the size of meals (30 percent), eating less than they should (28 percent), and choosing not to eat when hungry (25 percent) because there was not enough money for food. Though experienced by a smaller percentage of students, some students also experienced weight loss (9 percent) and skipping meals for an entire day (9 percent) due to an inability to afford food.

As a student, I care about food insecurity because I have gone hungry, but I didn’t know the resources that were available to me. As a student body, we need to combat hunger by working with administration to find ways to support our students and making resources more available.

So why should you care about food insecurity on college campuses? Because you may be hungry, and if you haven’t experienced food insecurity first-hand, you may be sitting next to someone in one of your classes who has. Students are unable to put forth their full potential when hungry, and the fact that one-quarter of food insecure students on our campus feel that hunger has caused them to not perform as well academically than they otherwise would have speaks volumes about how big this issue really is. Our Sociology in Action class will be presenting our survey results on campus on Tuesday, May 1st at 6:30 p.m. in CSU 253 and all are encouraged to come.

We want students to know that they are not alone and that there are food resources on and off campus that are available to them. Here is a list of food resources available:

On Campus:

Campus Cupboard

Crossroads Ministries



Lunch 4 $1

Crossroads Ministries

Everyday 11am-1pm


Off Campus:

Echo Food Shelf

1014 S. Front St.

Mankato, MN 56001



Minnesota Food Asst.

410 S. Fifth St.

Mankato, MN 56001



The Reach

125 E. Liberty St.

Mankato, MN 56001



Salvation Army

700 S. Riverfront Dr.

Mankato, MN 56001



Food for All

Crossview Covenant

200 Howard Dr. W

Mankato, MN 56003



Fare for All (varies)

New Creation Outreach

1124 N. River Dr.

Mankato, MN 56003 https://fareforall.org/find-a-site/

One thought on “Starving should not be part of the college experience

  • Daniel Sebold

    Do not feel so bad about this. Most other third world countries have this problem with their college and university students.

    Writing from Bangkok


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