VIRGINIA/EVELETH — Mesabi Range College was recently named a Hunger Free Campus by LeadMN, a college student organization representing the 180,000 two-year college students in Minnesota. Colleges are continuing to make efforts to address hunger among college students with the passage of the Hunger Free Campus Act, passed in 2019, by the Minnesota State legislature.
A Hunger Free Campus is a Minnesota State community and/or technical college that is actively taking strides to reduce food insecurity among students. In order to be awarded the designation, a campus must meet the following minimum criteria:
• Have a food pantry, partnership with a food bank, or
some type of food distribution
system on campus available
• Have a designated staff
person on campus to educate
students on SNAP and other
public services aimed to reduce food insecurity;
• Provide emergency funds
to assist students who may
be experiencing basic needs
• Have a taskforce dedicated
to addressing food insecurity
• Host or participate in at least
one hunger awareness event
“No student can succeed in the classroom if they can’t get food or shelter outside the classroom,” said Oballa Oballa, president of LeadMN. “If Minnesota wants to meet the state workforce demands we need to help meet the basic needs of college students so they can focus on the classroom.”
The largest survey of college and university students in Minnesota found that 37 percent of respondents were food insecure in the previous 90 days and 48 percent were housing insecure in the previous year.
Since the act was passed in 2019, 16 Minnesota State Colleges have earned the title of a Hunger Free Campus.