Pass the Pennsylvania Hunger Free Campus Act

Dear Sen. Kim Ward, 

As a proud student of your alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, we urge you to support your fellow Panthers by cosponsoring the Hunger Free Campus Act SB 719. Though many typically think of college students as fully supported by families and institutions, today’s students struggle with hunger, homelessness and a lack of basic resources that prevent them from academic and personal success. In fact, a recent report by the Hope Center for Justice out of Temple University found that more than 1 in 3 college students before the pandemic faced food insecurity and hunger; many reported having to choose between paying their tuition or buying food.

As Pennsylvania recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of students across the Keystone State are struggling more than ever before. To build back a stronger Pennsylvania, we need one that invests in our colleges, students, and communities. We know that the Hunger Free Campus Act (SB 719) is a clear and effective avenue for this effort.

Under the proposed legislation, public universities would receive funding to mitigate student hunger on and off campus. Each school would have the flexibility to implement specific anti-hunger programs to meet the needs of its students. For some, that might look like establishing an on-campus food pantry or partnering with a local food bank to ensure that students have access to the nourishment they need. For others, it might be best to create a program where students can donate their unused meal swipes to students in need.

Similar bills have already been passed in California, New Jersey, Maryland, and Minnesota, where roughly $70 million has been distributed to assist universities in bridging the hunger gap. This funding has allowed more open lines of communication among students and faculty on-campus, gradually reducing the stigma surrounding food insecurity. Likewise, without the fear or sensation of hunger, students are able to perform at higher levels and better engage with their community.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the Hunger Free Campus Act is more important than ever. We appreciate your help and ask that you please consider lending your support to your fellow Panthers at the University of Pittsburgh.

Thank you for your time and consideration.