When we come to Wesleyan, we are sold on the promise that we will be supported and that our basic human rights will be respected and our needs met. We are told that as long as we are on campus our community will care for us and our administration will ensure our health and safety. Yet the University has neglected the 5 week-long winter break when campus is desolate, barely anything is open, the weather is brutally cold, and the closest affordable grocery store is a 30 minute walk. Students who stay over winter break are not being supported, provided for, and their basic need of access to food goes unacknowledged by Wesleyan. International students are given a plane ticket to get to Wesleyan to begin their studies, and a plane ticket to get them home when they conclude. However, during breaks, the university does little to help international students. Leaving them on their own to feed themselves with the work study money they are supposed to be using to pay tuition and books. If the University essentially requires these students to stay on campus, why do they not take care for them during the most isolating time? Many need-based international students cannot afford to go home over winter break and some other students have exceptional circumstances that require them to stay as well. Staying on campus over winter break in these situations is not a choice.
No Hungry Student Act is a collaboration between WSA members and the administration. It seeks to act as a starting point to resolve this issue and relieve students of the burden of paying for food over winter break. This act outlines a stipend program for all international students on need-based aid and domestic students with exceptional circumstances who are staying for the entirety of winter break to receive a cash stipend for food over the break. During the two weeks during winter break that Usdan Marketplace is open, students will be placed on a free meal plan to allow them to eat on campus. This program will begin as a pilot this year, 2016-2017.
Food is a right. The University must live up to its promise to provide for its students. While the No Hungry student act does not resolve this issue in its entirety, it gives us a starting point from which we can address the issues plaguing those neglected during breaks.
By Emma Austin ‘19, Claudia Kahindi ‘18, and Jacob Maiman-Stadtmauer ‘19
Discussion on this resolution will happen in the WSA Senate Meeting on Sunday, November 20th, 2016 at 6:00pm in Boger Hall, Room 114. We invite all community members to come and voice their opinions on this matter and ask questions.