While looking through the Motherblog (I love that name), I spotted an article in the Chronicle that caught my eye. This article discusses a study looking at the incredibly shocking rates of community college students that experience, what they term, ‘food insecurity’ (aka either decreased access to food, hunger, etc.) as well as homelessness.
This headline caught me completely off guard. Though I more often have my head stuck in an Immunology textbook or manual discussing rodent techniques to prepare for my next experiment, I do not consider myself completely oblivious to world problems. But I was, in fact, completely oblivious to hunger and homelessness being issues experienced by community college students. This study looked at 4,000 students representing 10 different institutions. Almost half (HALF!) of all respondents reported having marginal food insecurity in the past 30 days. Marginal food insecurity was defined as having anxiety over shortness of food. HALF! I know we as students all struggle with money but to see a statistic where people are actually concerned about where their next meal might come from is heart breaking. Similar numbers had experienced home insecurity represented by difficulty paying for rent and utilities. How can one properly obtain an education and focus on studying when their bellies are growling and they are not sure if they will make rent this month??
Additionally the article points out that many students facing these issues do not take advantage of programs currently available to help them. I wonder though, if this is more likely due to a lack of knowledge about these programs as opposed to any other reason.
Finally, the article posits many ways in which these statistics can be addressed and changed. They discuss public policy changes, increasing public awareness of programs to assist in acquiring food and shelter, and expanding support programs (including mental health programs) on community college campuses. I found this article interesting as well as important in highlighting a problem to which I have unfortunately been blissfully ignorant.