First Lady Frances Wolf Participates in First Spouse Roundtable on Student Advocacy and College Hunger
First Lady Frances Wolf joined Delaware First Lady Tracey Quillen-Carney and Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker in a Thursday night virtual conversation hosted by Nazun to highlight the importance of student advocacy and the need to address the hunger on college campuses. Ms. Wolf pointed to Pennsylvania State’s budget allocation of $1 million for 2022-23 to create the Hunger Free Campus Grant Program.
“The Hunger Free Campus Grant Program will help schools establish and expand campus pantries, increase the reach of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), improve data collection, and deploy further efforts necessary to meet the nutritional needs of their student population,” said First Lady Wolf. “Students are pursuing careers that will benefit all of Pennsylvania, so it’s important that we take steps like this to support their well-being.”
National studies estimate that one in three students is food insecure, and around 52% of students facing food or housing insecurity in 2020 did not seek help because they did not know what to do .
The demographics of university students have changed dramatically in recent years, with a 2018 Government Accountability Office study finding that around half of all undergraduate students in 2016 were responsible for their own finances and that the average age of one student was 25 years old. About 22% of all undergraduate students that year had dependent children of their own, and 14% were single parents.
Many students coming out of high school have relied on free or reduced-price meals throughout their studies. These programs don’t exist for college students — even though the student’s socioeconomic status likely hasn’t changed. The dietary challenges they faced in elementary school follow them into the next phase of their lives and may even become more difficult as they juggle new financial responsibilities like housing, books and other costs. .
The Wolf administration has long demonstrated its commitment to meeting the needs of students by:
Expand eligibility for the SNAP program to make it more accessible to college students;
Launched the first campus sexual assault prevention initiative “It’s On Us PA”;
Ensure Pennsylvanians no longer need to pay state income tax on student loan debt relief from the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) and the Pennsylvania Student Loan Relief Program for Nurses (SLRN );
Enact the Promoting Independence through Education Act to provide tuition waivers for young people in foster care; and
To provide educational assistance to members of the National Guard and their families.
Nazun, a national organization based in Philadelphia, develops leaders, builds communities of people willing to take action to end campus hunger, and works collectively to solve other pressing social challenges. Each week, thousands of students from over 60 chapters across the United States and Canada come together to cook challah and discuss advocacy tactics to address food insecurity on campus. After baking, students sell the challah on campus to peers, faculty, and community members, with proceeds going to local and national hunger relief efforts.
The conversation, which was part of the Nazun Summer Agreements: Bake, Connect, and Create Change series, also touched on the importance of student advocacy efforts, with all first spouses encouraging students to get involved in all ways. possible ways. Ms. Wolf encouraged students to discover what excites them and get involved where and how they can.
“It’s important to identify your strengths and focus your energy on using those strengths to help the causes you care about,” First Lady Wolf said. “Student voices and experiences matter, and that alone means they deserve a seat at the table.
A recording of the conversation is available at facebook.com/nazunleaders.