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Students: We Heard You.

As universities begin to make their plans for what the 2020 – 2021 academic year looks like, there is one thing uniquely missing: student voices. As COVID-19 shifted what higher education looks like for every college student, we asked students to share their experiences from the Spring 2020 semester with us. The result is this campaign: Stand Up For Students.

Inspired by the hundreds of students that participated in our survey, we will amplify their student voices so that higher education can listen. As colleges and universities make decisions about the upcoming year, we believe student experiences should be centered in the design of campus culture, classes, and community.

We task those in higher education– chancellors, presidents, committees, basic needs coordinators, and even professors– with the following recommendations, informed by students:

#1

I feel as if many teachers assumed that because were “at home” that it would be okay to add extra work to the course load. For me this was extremely crushing to know professors valued mental health so little they chose not to take things like workload in an inadequate workspace/home into account.

– Noah, college senior

Campuses need to be more compassionate to their students’ circumstances come fall. Ask professors to be understanding with course load. Be mindful that some classes are nearly impossible to teach and learn remotely. Many students are facing challenges with inadequate technology and unreliable WiFi connections in their homes.

#2

Life is hard. Just everything about life. It’s not an easy task to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone deal with the same amount of schoolwork (and in some cases, more) as before this pandemic.

– Noah, college senior

Many students experienced generalized stress and anxiety as a result of the pandemic and some experience trauma or unsafe situations at home. Make sure the university is there for their students.

#3

I am struggling to pay for housing and tuition due to quarantine. My family is unable to work and I was laid off because of the situation. At this rate, I won’t be able to continue to pay any fees since it is becoming hard to pay for basic necessities.

– Noah, college senior

Many students do not have the finances they planned on having due to canceled internships or job loss. Be thoughtful about costs and provide safety nets whenever possible, as students are in worse financial position than they were in the springtime.

Over three weeks, we will be highlighting students’ experiences so they can be kept in mind as colleges design this next academic year amidst so much uncertainty. We invite you to share about our work by reposting across social media or proactively sharing messages from our toolkit. Our goal is to get in front of the decisionmakers at each campus so they can be mindful of student experiences as they make choices for thousands of students, faculty, and community members.

Will you join us in Standing Up For Students?

For any media inquiries, please contact Director of Communications Tenille Metti Bowling at tenille@swipehunger.org.

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