Cuomo proposes food pantries at SUNY and CUNY schools

January 03, 2018 06:53 PM

It is not a vigorous academic load that is causing angst for some students in college – it’s hunger. The governor proposed food pantries at all SUNY and CUNY schools on Wednesday.

The governor says a recent survey finds that food insecurity is prevalent on college campuses. NewsChannel 13 found one local college already addressing the issue.


Robyn King is a counselor tasked with helping students at Schenectady County Community College maneuver the academic road and handle any barriers to getting an education, but recently an issue came across her desk having nothing to do with schedules or acquiring books.

"We have found over the past few years that a number of our students have trouble accessing enough food to keep them going," explained King.

It called food insecurity - and has been an issue for a while at some local elementary and high schools. They started sending kids home with backpacks filled with food.

Last year, Schenectady County Community College opened a food pantry through its "Student Success Initiative."

"It's a huge need. We opened our doors on February 1 and as of Dec 31, we've had 178 different students coming through the doors for 450 visits," pointed out King.

Quite simply, other things suffer if you're hungry. That includes your education.

"Normally when we think about access to a college, we think about, 'Do you have the right GPA to get in, are you ready to take your introductory math or science or writing courses,'" pointed out Dr. Aaron Tolbert, co-chair of the Student Service Initiative at Schenectady County Community College. "Access is really based on many different things – including food."

In his State of the State, the governor is proposing a $1 million state investment for schools to implement food pantries on all SUNY and CUNY campuses.

Along with food, SCCC is also providing some toiletries for students.


WNYT Staff

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