Spelman and Morehouse students go on a hunger strike to change school meal policy

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In an effort to create a change to a university policy, students at Historically Black Colleges Spelman and Morehouse are going on a hunger strike. The students hope to change the school policy that does not allow them to donate campus meals to the needy. On November 2, roughly twenty-five students from both Spelman and Morehouse have began on a hunger strike. They have vowed to live off water and vitamins for at least two weeks. This is something that is happening at college campuses around the country.

This initiative is led by the Swipe Out Hunger program. It started in 2009 at the University of California. The program partners with colleges and campus food providers. The group at Spelman and Morehouse wants to get the colleges and their campus food provider Aramark to set up a way for students with paid college meal plans to donate unused meals to needy students who cannot afford plans.

Currently, Spelman students living in campus dorms have to purchase their meals. This is part of their room and board fees. This cost students roughly $20,000 a year. At Morehouse, the meal plans are also mandatory for students living on campus. Students at Morehouse can choose between three plans that cost anywhere from $1,760 and $2,964.

Spelman and Morehouse have roughly 4,500 students and about 1,500 of them are currently not on a meal plan. The students believe that this is a serious concern on campus and no student should go hungry on a college campus.

In 2015, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) reported more than 58,000 homeless students are enrolled in colleges and universities in the US.

According the their website, Swipe Out Hunger works with 19 American institutions and has spearheaded initiatives that have donated at least one million meals to students at campuses.

I salute these students at Spelman and Morehouse for the bravery to bring this issue to light on their campus. I hope other campuses across the country take notice and do the same. One of the most difficult things about being in college is eating. This is especially difficult when you attend college far from home.

 

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David McGuire

Mr. McGuire is a middle school teacher in Indianapolis, Teach Plus Policy Fellow, and currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Indiana State University for Educational Leadership. Driven by the lack of having an African American male teacher in his classrooms growing up, David helped launched the Educate ME Foundation, which is geared towards increasing the number of African American male teachers in the classroom. A born and raised Hoosier, he is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in Indianapolis. He describes his educational beliefs as a reformer grounded in the best practices of traditional public schools, where he was mentored by strong leaders. David graduated from Central State University with a degree in English and also holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.