Students Living Away From Home Struggle With Food Insecurity During Breaks

Dina Marin

During breaks between terms, International students, athletes and students living far away from home –particularly first-years and sophomores – find themselves without many affordable options for food because the CSL and C-Store are closed during breaks.

“I usually buy food from fast food restaurants or go to the supermarket and buy things that can be easily prepared or cooked,” Sophomore Antonella Laitano, an international student from Honduras, said. “Going to the supermarket makes it way cheaper than buying food every day.”

“I have a friend and she is a senior. So with a couple of people, we buy food and we cook at her house. Also a couple times, I order food from Uber Eats or I go to a restaurant.” sophomore Rodrigo Ayala, an international student from El Salvador, said.

Some students look for food prior to the breaks from Campus Cupboard, but they also find themselves consuming food they happened to have in their dorm.

“Most of the time, we [Ethiopians] all get together and share the food we bring from home,”  First-year Amy Neway, an international student from Ethiopia, said.
   “You are supposed to eat your food when you miss home, not because you don’t have a choice. You just need to survive and not spend even more money.”

Additionally, while working on campus, international students have to deal with more taxes being taken out of their paycheck than domestic students.

Sophomore Rosalie Looijaard, an International student from the Netherlands, experienced this issue while working during J-term.

Looijaard was being trained for her current job as a student worker in Old Main, and was only able to work two hours during the last week of the term due to illness.

“Unfortunately, from what I understood from the payroll office, international students need to meet a certain threshold to get paid at all, so the entire 16 dollars went to taxes. Which meant I got a 0 dollar paycheck in the mail.” Looijaard said.

However, not all students end up having to look out for other resources.

“The break for me was pretty easy, I was able to eat at the CSL during select times because it was open for us [student athletes]

“Whenever I couldn’t eat at the CSL I would cook with my girlfriend,” Sophomore John Currie, who is a shot putter for the track team and had to stay on campus for training during the break, said.

While Currie was able to eat at the CSL, the dining hall was only open from 10:30 am until 1 pm, and then 5-7pm.

Additionally, students were not able to use meal swipes over the J-term break. Instead, they had to pay with cash, card or viking bucks to eat there.

“I think,” Ayala said, “that at least Augie should allow international students to have some meals and the opportunity to eat at the CSL.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to cook or the money to eat in restaurants during the entire break,” Ayala said.