EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – Consistent with what is found in other U.S. colleges and universities, Emporia State University reported 41% of their students admit to not having enough food in the last 30 days.
Along with 41% admitting to being hungry, 42% said they had concerns about housing in the last year and 15% reported experiencing conditions consistent with homelessness.
“It’s hard to learn when you are hungry or don’t have a consistent and safe place to live,” said Jasmine Linabary, co-director of the EAT Initiative (Emporia At the Table: Ending Hunger in Our Community).
“Historically, many college students in need have operated in the shadows of despair.”
The numbers became apparent when ESU participated in the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University’s #RealCollege survey.
ESU’s campus food pantry, Corky’s Cupboard, founded in 2014 in response to concerns about food insecurity, became one of the earliest campus food pantries in Kansas.
Findings showed only 28% of students experiencing need used the support service.
“Based on the numbers we learned from the #RealCollege survey, we know we need to reach more students and let them know they can utilize Corky’s Cupboard in addition to other resources available on campus and in the community,” said Blythe Eddy, director of student activities and community service. “We need to do more to understand and remove barriers to students seeking help when they need it.”
ESU has convened a new university-wide coalition in an effort to address students’ basic needs.
“Most Americans are more likely to name obesity as a first response to food problems in this country. However, the lack of access to enough quality food for a healthy life is also an urgent public health problem in the U.S,” Aswad Allen, ESU’s chief diversity officer said. “Historically, many college students in need have operated in the shadows of despair.”