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Helping with hunger: Student Senate attempting to measure the problem, look for ways to assist

Students+and+staff+grab+lunch+in+the+Truax+cafeteria+on+Oct.+9.+The+Student+Senate+is+working+to+raise+awareness+about+student+hunger%2C+and+recently+completed+a+survey+on+the+topic.
Students and staff grab lunch in the Truax cafeteria on Oct. 9. The Student Senate is working to raise awareness about student hunger, and recently completed a survey on the topic.

Students and staff grab lunch in the Truax cafeteria on Oct. 9. The Student Senate is working to raise awareness about student hunger, and recently completed a survey on the topic.

Max Goldberg / Clarion

Max Goldberg / Clarion

Students and staff grab lunch in the Truax cafeteria on Oct. 9. The Student Senate is working to raise awareness about student hunger, and recently completed a survey on the topic.

Jessica Deegan, News Editor

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The Student Senate recently conducted a survey to increase awareness and promote solutions for student hunger. It was the first time such a survey has been done.

The survey began Sept. 25 and ended Oct. 9. Evaluation of the surveys will follow and will remain anonymous.

According to Student Senate President Tina Marshalek, hunger insecurity was the main focus for the survey. Answers will be used to identify which demographics are more or less likely to experience hunger insecurity at Madison College.

After researching hunger results from the 2015 Wisconsin HOPE Lab, an organization focused on improving equitable outcomes in postsecondary education, student hunger and homelessness became one the Student Senate’s top priorities for 2017.

“While determining how to best serve the student body on these issues, the Student Senate decided to launch a student hunger survey so that we can compare the data from Madison College students to the results of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. Before we can fix a problem, we need to know the extent of the problem,” said Marshalek.

As of Oct. 2, over 800 responses had been submitted. The results will be presented to the College Assembly.

Realizing that you may need assistance with meals may seem uncomfortable for some students, but, the Student Senate team has is trying to make it as easy as possible.

“Part of the reason we emailed the survey to all students instead of requiring they take it in person is because we wanted students to be aware of their anonymity. Shame, embarrassment, and pride are strong feelings associated with experiencing hunger insecurity. While not everyone will accept help, at least the Student Senate can advocate for these students to have better access to the resources they need,” said Marshalek.

“I hope the results can give the Student Senate and the college more of a direction in its efforts to address student hunger at Madison College. I also hope we can identify which campuses, including regional, need the most assistance,” said Marshalek.

Although the Student Senate has been debating their plan of action against student hunger over the past several months, they have agreed that students need access to food assistance – whether through a food pantry or different accommodation.

The Student Senate will continue to encourage the college to create awareness and access to existing internal and external resources as best they can.

Utilizing various methods is key to educating students on what assistance is available to prevent student hunger.

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Helping with hunger: Student Senate attempting to measure the problem, look for ways to assist