A group of Spelman and Morehouse College students are on a hunger strike, in an attempt to change school policy and allow the donation of campus meals to the needy.
About 25 students from the single-sex liberal arts universities in downtown Atlanta started hunger striking on Nov. 2.
Mary-Pat Hector and Lillian Thomas, Spelman juniors, are among them.
Their aim: 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 can’t afford the plans.
It is happening at universities elsewhere, spearheaded by the Swipe Out Hunger program that started at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2009, and which partners with colleges and campus food providers nationwide.
Programs vary depending on the institutions involved, but at their core they allow students to donate from their paid meal plans to needy students or homeless community members.
“By introducing a Swipe Out Hunger program at Spelman and Morehouse, we would directly impact student hunger and raise the awareness on issues impacting our fellow students experiencing hunger and homelessness while in college,” Hector, 19, said Nov. 2.
Spelman’s director of marketing and communications, Joyce Davis, said the hunger strikers raised a “very concerning” issue, of widespread hunger insecurity on campus, and the college administration will set a time to meet with strikers to discuss the issue.
“In the meantime, we are engaging our vice president of student affairs, Darnita Killian, to determine the extent of the problem on Spelman’s campus,” Davis said Nov. 2.
“No student should go hungry. We look forward to working with Aramark as we continue to explore the extent of the problem,” she said.
Davis said Spelman has already made use of support from Publix and Mimi’s Pantry, on the Clark Atlanta University campus, to address the food insecurity issues that have been brought to the college’s attention.