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Indiana Students Learn About Hunger and Homelessness on Campus

More than 650 colleges in the United States report having a food pantry for students facing hunger. (AdobeStock)
More than 650 colleges in the United States report having a food pantry for students facing hunger. (AdobeStock)
November 21, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Anecdotes about starving college students are actually no laughing matter, as research reveals hunger on campus is not uncommon.

In a national survey released early this year, 45% of student respondents said they had experienced food insecurity.

Ty Davis is assistant dean of students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she says there are students who struggle to find their next meal.

"Many people are still not aware that we have college students on campuses nationwide who don't have enough, they don't have enough to meet their basic needs,” she states. “One-in-five of our students is experiencing food insecurity every day. "

Davis notes 42% of IUP-UI students have experienced some type of housing challenge in the past year.

During this week’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, students are taking part in activities, including a poverty simulation and documentary screening on homelessness to raise awareness about the issues.

Davis also heads up the Office for Student Advocacy and Support. She says raising awareness can help reduce the stigma associated with hunger and homelessness, and help ensure those in need can get assistance.

"If you are aware of a student who's in need, please refer them to the Office of Student Advocacy and Support,” she urges. “We're here to support our students and do what we can to reduce barriers to academic success."

Donation drives also are being held for Paw's Closet and Paw's Pantry, which provide food and clothing assistance for students, faculty and campus staff.

It's estimated that more than 650 colleges in the U.S. have a food pantry on campus.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN