As thousands of college students prepare to graduate in the upcoming weeks, many of them will be stressed out, deeply in debt, and very hungry according to a new survey from Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.
A senior at Lehman College in the Bronx dreams of starting her day with breakfast. An undergraduate at New York University said he has been so delirious from hunger, he’s caught himself walking down the street not realizing where he’s going. A health sciences student at Stony Brook University on Long Island describes “poverty naps,” where she decides to go to sleep rather than deal with her hunger pangs.
It was at a pantry at SUNY Stony Brook where Jocelyn Chen, a volunteer there, spoke of her poverty naps. She said that many students are unable to visit the food pantry between classes, or to go off campus to find cheap food without a car.
“When you’re in class for, like, three hours, it’s hard to concentrate when you’re hungry,” she said. Back at the dorm, she explained, it’s easier to take “poverty naps” than to forage for something to eat. –NYT
According to the survey, 44% of students from over 100 institutions said they had been “food insecure” over the past 30 days.
Lehman College senior Kassandra Montes counts herself among them – having to take out a $5,000 loan this year in order to graduate, while living in a Harlem homeless shelter while attending classes. She says she works two part-time jobs and can only set aside $15 per week for food. Most of her groceries come from the campus food pantry, and she almost always skips breakfast in order to feed her 4-year-old son.
“I feel like I’m slowly sinking as I’m trying to grow,” said Montes.
Kassandra Montes, Calvin Ramsay
Another struggling student, Calvin Ramsay, accumulated “massive amounts of debt” while attending NYU, and told the Times that “food was a major obstacle — especially in Manhattan.”