HUSC launching campaign to feed all students

How HUSC’s new plan is helping all students, including disabled and queer, get the food they need.

Emily Brown, reporter

When Steve Anderson told me HUSC’s current focus was making Hamline University more accessible this summer, I was astounded. I knew that Hamline wasn’t accessible even before I had to endure the stress of Piper Preview. My understanding about how much Hamline is inaccessible only grows on a daily basis. A goal of mine was to have every door on campus be accessible. I came on campus to find handicap buttons on some of the bathroom doors. I was ecstatic!

Last spring, HUSC launched their Think Where You campaign. The campaign was aimed to have everyone on campus think how and where they play, study, eat, work or just go about their daily lives and how a person less able bodied may have more adversity doing these simple tasks. As someone with Cerebral Palsy, I know firsthand how challenging and exhausting simple everyday tasks are. I’ve been on campus less than a month and I already call Hamline my home, but it’s stressful when your home wasn’t built for you.

The Think Where You campaign successfully funded and installed accessible automatic doors in nine bathrooms around campus. Despite this vast improvement, Hamline is still highly inaccessible for people in wheelchairs. I am the only person in a wheelchair on campus, but luckily, I am able to get out of my wheelchair and walk around. My mom and I soon realized I couldn’t attend Hamline if I was in a wheelchair full time. I couldn’t reach the soap dispenser in Anderson nor the book drop outside Bush Memorial Library. Too high and up a step, it is impossible to get a wheelchair into many of the classrooms because of the fishbowl style tables. So needless to say, the Think Where You campaign is much needed and nowhere near finished.

Our home at Hamline isn’t a perfect little bubble, and we have a plethora of issues that need to be addressed. This year, HUSC is launching the Feed Your Brain campaign. Last year HUSC took a survey of 359 undergraduates and found 76 percent of them self-identified as food insecure. A student was more likely to identify as food insecure if they were a person of color, below the poverty line, disabled or chronically ill or identified as transgender or genderqueer.

HUSC is working with the Feed Your Campaign to provide free groceries to students via monthly pop up food shelves and Keystone’s Foodmobile. I am so happy about this improvement on campus. We are here at Hamline to learn, but we can’t learn on empty stomachs.

Now, I’ll admit I was a little saddened when I learned that HUSC was launching the Feed Your Brain campaign because I thought it meant that HUSC was going to forget about the Think Where You campaign or vastly decrease the work they were doing on the campaign. I just got appointed disability representative, and now I can’t even work on disability accommodations? But HUSC President Liam Davis Temple assured me HUSC is going to continue to work on both campaigns. He said, “We are very motivated and will be working hard all year to tackle both accessibility and food insecurity, and I hope students will continue to push us and hold us accountable on both issues!”

Now that I know HUSC is doing both campaigns, I  could not be more excited about the Feed Your Brain campaign. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, food is one of the physiological needs required for human survival. As students, we need to fuel our brain to learn and grow.

Although our campus is in desperate need in an accessibility update, I’d honestly much rather know that my friends can eat dinner tonight than have a new handicap button on the second floor GLC bathroom.

HUSC is working tirelessly on these two campaigns to make our campus more accessible in terms of ramps and meals. No student should go to bed hungry.