Spelman and Morehouse go on hunger strikes to improve food access for student populations
The starving collegian trope is often conjured to portray how intellectually curious, struggling young adults often do without materially. Depending on who tells the story, sustained hunger can seem like an academic rite of passage.
However, the lived reality of students who experience the stresses of collegiate life and food insecurity can be more painful. These realities inspired some Spelman and Morehouse students to peacefully protest in a way that called attention to the food insecurity experienced by some members of their campus communities, as the Grio reported.
After successful hunger strikes on both notable HBCU campuses, the schools announced that they would do more to ensure sustenance for their students. One solution includes allowing students who do not have meal plans to access other students’ unclaimed meals. Much like unspent and forgotten about gift card balances, meals can oftentimes sit on college students’ cards or in their accounts. Allowing other students to benefit from these meals is a cool waste elimination strategy. One can also hope that both schools will discreetly and compassionately award the meals to students in need without public spectacle or shame.
“No student should go hungry on our campus,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell wrote in a letter. “We take this opportunity to thank the members of the NAN [National Action Network] Spelhouse Collegiate Chapter for highlighting the scale of a growing problem. We are committed to expediting the development of more solutions.”
Mary Pat Hector, a Spelman student, tweeted an end to the strike that began on November 2. Hector announced that meetings with institutional leadership, along with the strike, caused each school to promise 14,000 meals yearly for students “who face food insecurity on campus.”
Practically, she said, students could request a meal card from the dean or a representative and receive up to three meals daily. Further, vouchers are available and about 2,000 meals are free for claiming this semester, she said.