Yage Wang — Staff Writer
What is food insecurity? Food insecurity is commonly defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” According to the most recent statistics of Hunger on Campus, 50 percent of community college students and 47 percent of four-year college students reported food insecurity. There is a possibility that almost half of the students at Dordt don’t have enough food to sustain them daily.
As Dordt students turn into upperclassmen, their meal plans are compressed from 21 or 15 meals per week to the limited 5 per week. Even with more defender dollars, students seem to have the tendency to save it for the bookstore sale rather than spend it on the food.
“It makes me feel good to see how many defender dollars I can keep at the end of the semester,” said Sarah Selenga, a senior nursing major student, “and I can also get something from the bookstore which is usually too expensive for me.” Combining this tendency and their scarce meal plans, upperclassmen are prevalently spending more money on their food budget.
“I probably spend close to 200 bucks on food per month,” said David Riadi, a junior computer science major student. “I cooked more especially after I moved out of East Hall. When I was an underclassman, I couldn’t cook, period.”
However, only the students who have stable incomes from their on-campus work-studies can spend a large amount on food. For some students who are heavily involved in their majors and projects, having sufficient food is more difficult.
“Sometimes if I don’t want to buy food, I will just take a green box [from the commons] and fill it up. It can last for two meals,” said Yovela Belicia, a junior Resident Assistant in West Hall. Meal plans work differently for Residential Life students. Since they don’t have to pay for housing, they have no defender dollars—only 5 meals per week.
Also, food insecurity has potential risks on students’ health. Less students eat breakfast once they turn into upperclassmen.
“I ate breakfasts as an underclassman. Now I only eat cookies and muffins from the Bunsen Brew,” said Dareen Christiabel, a junior psychology major student. “I lost 2 kilograms (4.4lbs).”
According to the website Collegiatevillage, having a well-balanced breakfast before classes will support students with higher levels of memorization. On the other hand, students who replace breakfast with coffee are more likely to have crashes later in the day.
In order to deal with food insecurity, many student leaders and student organizations have made an effort to reach out. Michael Buma, one of the CDAs of Kuyper, organized some building events with other Res life at the beginning of the semester that involved food, and clubs on campus may provide students with snacks or occasional dinners.