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SGA affirms fight against student hunger

Earlier this month, the Student Government Association (SGA) affirmed that it will take measures to fight student hunger on campus.

The resolution, which was authored by Senator Adam Varoqua, states that SGA recognizes that students who deal with “hunger or lack of access to food are in this situation for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to: affordability, time constraints, housing arrangements, rising college costs” and more.

According to the resolution, part of what brought this about was research recently documented via a Temple University and Wisconsin HOPE Lab study and reported by The Washington Post that concluded that “36 percent of students at 66 surveyed colleges and universities do not get enough to eat, and a similar number lack a secure place to live.” The study also found that these students also tend to be commuters.

The Student Government Association will attempt to make campus food more affordable and accessible for students. Kiera Alexander/Asst. Photography Editor

SGA plans to address student hunger on campus by conducting a variety of efforts. These include conducting another survey to send out to commuter students and establishing a food pantry on campus.

The Department of Student Life conducted two surveys, in the spring of 2015 and the academic year of 2017-2018 regarding food insecurity on Seton Hall’s campus. Dr. Monica Burnette, the assistant vice president of Student Services, evaluated the results of these surveys. Dr. Burnette concluded that the response rate from students was too low for both surveys to “draw any statistically significant conclusions or results,” according to Dr. Karen Van Norman, associate vice president and dean of students. The response rate in 2015 was 5 percent and in 2017-2018 the response rate was 9 percent.

Senator Varoqua commented on why he feels student hunger still needs to be addressed at Seton Hall.

“I have met many people who struggled with finding their next meal on this campus,” he said.

“Students who went whole periods in a day without any food. I was one of them too in my freshman year. Students shouldn’t be hungry on this campus. No member of the Seton Hall community, staff or student, should be hungry on this campus.”

Varoqua went on to describe why it’s important to battle student hunger despite a low response rate from students in the most recent surveys conducted. He feels it is still a “pertinent issue” because students have expressed to him that they struggle with hunger.

“Any Seton Hall community member in distress is everyone’s concern,” he said.

Jacob Abel, senate speaker of SGA, said that he signed this resolution because he believes student hunger is an issue that deserves more attention than it’s gotten on Seton Hall’s campus.

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“If there was a major push by students for a food pantry on campus then I believe that it could very well happen,” he said. “I know Adam and several other senators are passionate about this topic and will work to address it in the near and long term.”

Isabel Soisson can be reached at Find her on Twitter @IsabelSoisson.
Adam Varoqua, who is quoted in this article, is a staff writer for The Setonian.


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