Echo staff report
In response to a recently released report from Wisconsin Hope Labs indicating that 56 percent of community college students are experiencing food insecurity, the RCTC Student Senate unanimously approved $20,000 in direct food aid to its own students.
Commuter colleges generally do not have meal plans that can be paid with tuition. More often than not, full-time students find themselves unable to afford the retail food that is the only option available on campus.
The Senate had already been discussing the difficult financial situation community college students are facing and have been discussing long-term solutions to the problem.
“I’ve been bringing extra food from home to feed people on campus for weeks. Nothing like bringing a few pizzas or a plate of hot dish to campus to find out how hungry people really are,” said Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, RCTC Student President. “I was just getting a feel for how pervasive this problem was when the report came to our attention and really hit home.
“We’re Minnesotans, and it’s in our culture to sometimes be too proud to ask for help. The students at this college have jumped off the financial cliff to work hard and try to make their lives better. The least we can do is to let them know we are throwing out a net to catch them.”
The Student Senate kicked in to gear and established a fund to provide meals at every campus event possible.
“We are going to provide free food at the tutoring center, allow the clubs on campus to have open houses with free food to promote their causes, and be everywhere with snacks and resources to help fill this gap,” said Brakebill-Hacke. “The administration has been amazing in support of our efforts. We are going to fix this problem as a team. They can do their part to make our education more affordable and make our experience comprehensive. In the meantime, we’ll keep feeding people!”