LEWISBURG – Concerns are growing louder over Bucknell University’s dining and food services, which some on campus say has led to unprecedented rates of hunger and even malnutrition. Students continued voicing their concerns during a demonstration on campus Tuesday.
Eleanor King, who’s also vegan, is a junior at Bucknell, she bought into the costly, required meal plan, it doesn’t provide enough food, and they don’t have the time, or money to pay for more, “I get very hungry during the day and then I’m not able to do as much work, and so once I get my meal at night…that’s usually when the best options are for vegan food is at dinner…so I have to wait until then and then I’ll usually be able to get my homework done once I’ve eaten.”
We last told you Bucknell doubled its meal plans right before the start of the fall semester – the least expensive plan went from $700 per semester for one meal a day to $1,400 per semester. One faculty member tells us more than 60% of students are currently not getting enough food.
Senior Mary Collier says students are asking the university to provide three meals a day in this smaller plan instead of one, or give students the ability to opt out of the meal plan –which is required for students living on campus.
“We also have asked the school to implement a program called ‘Swipe Out Hunger’ that a lot of other universities have because currently, the way our swipe system works also is you can’t save them up or give them to others, they reset at the end of every week Sunday night…so Monday, even if you have unused swipes, you can’t use them, they reset again,” she said.
King says Bucknell does offer a food pantry, but it’s never advertised, “Their reason being that they don’t want people to use it, which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. The whole point of it is that people are supposed to be eating. People don’t get to decide if other people can’t eat.”
The university recently said the cost of the meal plan was increased because of the onset of COVID-19, as well as citing its capacity to accommodate dining needs in the midst of the pandemic.
During the demonstration Tuesday, food was given to students in need, including 50-60 loaves of freshly baked bread, pre-packaged foods and other canned goods, as well as fresh produce. Organizers say about 50 people have been a part of the demonstration’s planning committee, which includes about a third of university faculty and staff.