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It’s often assumed that a college student living on ramen or going to events for free pizza is just part of the experience of being a “starving student.” But the data show a much grimmer reality: 56% of college students nationally have experienced housing insecurity and 40% of students at UC Berkeley are food insecure. How can this issue be tackled when the narrative downplays the depth of the problem?  

In this episode, Sarah Edwards (MPP 2020) speaks with national and local experts on their efforts to change that narrative and provide real support to students. Sarah turns to Marissa Meyers from the Hope Center at Temple University for the national perspectives and to Ruben Canedo and Maria Balcazar from the Berkeley Basic Needs Center for what’s happening on the UC Berkeley campus. Tune in to learn more about the challenges that many students face and the progress toward solutions.  

What more can you do? Our team suggests you start here: 

  1. Check out the most recent report from the Hope Center with results from their “Real College” Survey 
  2. Follow the conversations around concerns with the cost of college and around funding basic needs on college campuses—we suggest this brief, this article, and this report as a place to start.  
  3. Help change the narrative downplaying the challenges many students face. Talk to the people in your life about this issue, share your story through the #realcollege campaign, or volunteer with the Berkeley Basic Needs Center.  

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