President Eddinger Responds to New HOPE Lab Study: “Hungry and Homeless in College”
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
A report released today by Wisconsin HOPE Lab and the Association of Community College Trustees revealed the prevalence of food and housing insecurity on community college campuses nationally.
Researchers surveyed 33,000 students studying at 70 two-year institutions across 24 states. Their report, “Hungry and Homeless in College”, found that more than 65% of students struggle with food insecurity, half are housing insecure, one third are regularly hungry and 14% are homeless.
An article in today’s “Inside Higher Ed” addressed the report’s troubling findings, and recognized efforts made Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and other institutions across the country to help students meet these basic needs.
BHCC began a small pilot program, funded by private donations, last year. The “One Solid Meal” program provides vouchers for students to use at the on-campus food services. It is designed to help students worry less about how they are going to buy food and focus on their studies, in order to improve retention and expedite graduation. The College is seeking support to expand this study from the current 33 students to more than 100 students in the next academic year.
President Eddinger is currently working with Achieving the Dream and the presidents of North Shore and Berkshire Community Colleges to affect policy on the food insecurity, and create long-term solutions for students struggling to meet basic needs. She recently sent a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office urging her to push the federal government to study this issue.
Last month, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Edward J. Markey, Patty Murray and Debbie Stabenow appealed to the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct a national study on food insecurity at American colleges and universities.
The reporter who wrote the article interviewed President Eddinger on the pervasiveness of needs insecurity on campus:
“Everyone wants economic growth for our country and everyone wants a larger middle class, and the one way to it is through education,” said President Pam Eddinger. “If community colleges have 50 percent of all undergraduates, then that’s our solution. [One Solid Meal] is a short-term solution. A longer-term solution would be some form of free lunch or some form [food assistance] program that would help students in college, not only community colleges, but the four years as well.”