Hungry to Learn: a look at hunger and college students

Growing up, many people are told college after high school is a necessity to get a great, good-paying job and be successful. Attending college can be some of the most rewarding years where one discovers their life’s passion. It can also be a time of struggle, stress and to a certain degree, survival. 

“I was pretty naive to the cost of college,” a student from a college in northern New Mexico recently said. “But once I decided I was going to college, I was pretty excited.” 

There was a lot that financial aid did not cover for the school year at this small college, including a meal plan for this student. He got a job at a fast-food restaurant, partially because he knew it would help with getting food. 

Another strategy this student and his friends would approach getting more food during their week was fast-food surveys. “We would buy something cheap at a local fast-food restaurant. The receipt would include an offer to complete a survey. If you did the survey, you would get a free combo meal. The manager really got to know us there,” he laughed. “Some days, it was really hard. We would save the cookie because we knew that we might need it for tomorrow.” 

At a time where students should be preparing for their professional careers, hunger is often the first thought over academics.  

“I was hungry a lot. It’s kinda hard to ignore that. The worry became how am I going to eat today over my assignments.” 

Learn more 

The Food Depot, along with New Mexico First and Presbyterian Health Services are hosting a screening of Hungry to Learn — a documentary looking at college students and their struggle with hunger.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to stream the documentary between March 15 and March 28. The Food Depot’s Executive Director Sherry Hooper will moderate a discussion with University of New Mexico Associate Professor Sarita Cargas, D.Phil, at 5:30 p.m. on March 25. The discussion will include Dr. Cargas’ recent research report on Basic Needs Insecurity at UNM, in addition to ways people can support their college students in their communities.  

Registration is free and required to optimize the live event experience — go here to register.