On Jan. 17, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ben Farrer sent out a survey to Knox’s student body on behalf of the Student Life Committee to further grasp the extent to which food insecurity is a problem at Knox College. The survey defined “food insecurity” as the state of students not having reliable access to affordable and nutritious food.
Food insecurity can manifest in different ways: money, nutrition, eating disorders and allergic and religious restrictions. SLC says that the survey is the first step in a long-term effort to address food insecurity on Knox’s campus and as a systemic problem.
SLC has suggested a few solutions to Knox’s food insecurity problem, including: addressing C-store prices and options, opening hours in the Gizmo, C-store and caf, as well as healthy/nutritious options in Dining Services. Before anything can come from these suggestions, however, there needs to be a campus-wide discourse concerning what food insecurity is presently and how it can be treated in the future. SLC is planning to have a conversation take place where students and faculty can speak openly about what food insecurity looks like to each individual and how they want to see change on Knox’s campus. It is imperative that students attend this meeting as it has the ability to make change in an area where change must come about. Heads of departments such as Dining Services, Health and Wellness, Disability Services, Sustainability and Spiritual Life should be in attendance at this discussion as they are just a few of the many departments who should have a thoughtful and insightful say in the food insecurity discussion.
Food insecurity is a systemic problem that, on our campus, can only be solved by individuals communicating what exactly needs to be done in order to care for the safety and well-being of Knox community members. SLC has created a jumping-off point through their survey, but there is much more to be done. Those students who did not complete the survey should consider attending a campus-wide food insecurity discussion (should one happen) to voice their opinions and listen to what their peers and faculty members have experienced. The survey only spoke for 24 percent of our student body — what about the other 1,000 students? It’s time for our campus to speak up, step up and collaborate to make the changes needed to end food insecurity on Knox’s campus.