South Central College’s Faribualt and North Mankato Campuses have been awarded the designation of Hunger Free Campuses by LeadMN, the statewide student association for the 30 Minnesota State system community and technical colleges.
South Central College was one of the first four colleges to be designated as having Hunger Free Campuses this past spring.
LeadMN’s Hunger Free Campus initiative addresses food insecurity. Those designated as Hunger Free Campuses are recognized for taking strides to reduce food insecurity amongst students. In order to awarded the designation, a campus must:
• Have a food pantry, partnership with a food bank or some type of food distribution system on campus available to students
• Have a designated staff person on campus to educate students on public services aimed to reduce food insecurity
• Provide emergency funds to assist students who may be experiencing basic needs insecurity
• Have a taskforce dedicated to addressing food insecurity concerns
• Host or participate in at least one hunger awareness event each year
“SCC’s meeting of all five of these criteria is a testament to the caring nature of the South Central College community and the cooperative efforts of our Student Life staff, social workers, Student Senate and other SCC students and employees who are dedicated to ensuring our students have what they need at all levels to be successful,” said South Central College President Dr. Annette Parker.
The need for such assistance is clear, with a fall 2018 study of South Central College students indicating that 49% were worried about running out of food at least once a year, 31.5% were worried about running out of food monthly, one in four saying they skipped a meal in the past because of a lack of food, one in five reporting hunger impacted their school performance.
This statistic is consistent with recent Minnesota data that shows 40% of college students have experienced food insecurity and the 2019 #RealCollege national report indicating 45% of college students in the United States are food insecure.
SCC employees, as well as students, have generously donated food to the college’s Campus Cupboard Food Pantry, with additional support from private and public organizations. Since the COVID-19 outbreak cancelling on campus classes and activities this past spring, South Central College’s Student Life employees set up a system for taking orders and making it possible for students to pick up food packages at designated times.