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Summer is No Break for Students With Food Insecurity

Mary Christie Institute

July 18, 2022

Center Operations Manager Natalie Shaak was quoted in an article discussing college student food insecurity during the summer months. 

She emphasized that students have limited access to food service providers during the summer, both on- and potentially off-campus. Campus events, such as club meetings, that offer free food typically don’t convene in the summer months, and students have fewer interactions with campus staff, which reduces opportunities to be connected to resources. Additionally, “college towns” can shut down during the summer, leaving students with limited options – specifically a limited number of affordable options to obtain nutritious foods.

The reduced number of on-campus jobs may also impact students’ financial situations, especially for students dependent on work study funds during the academic year. Offering summer jobs with livable wages on-campus or directing students towards paid summer roles can help alleviate these additional financial stressors.

“If students don’t have the money that they need to eat, they are typically going to make choices to not eat or they’re going to eat less healthy food than they should,” Shaak said. “That’s the key to this whole conversation. It’s not about not eating, it’s about students not eating the nutritious food that they need for their bodies to function.”

She also noted the importance of nutrition and mental health.

“The folks in the counseling centers need to remember these things,” said Natalie Shaak. “Students aren’t going to have the nutrition that they need over the summer. It’s a rough time for mental health in general, and if you pile on not eating healthily on top of that, it’s just going to make it worse.”

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