Food insecurity

In the days of inflation and increasing grocery costs, students find themselves struggling to put meals on the table. With this in mind, Tech should alleviate food insecurity by providing more easily affordable options for student dining.

The meal plans allotted to Texas Tech students living on campus for the Fall of 2022 - Spring 2023 are separated into groups based on how many dining bucks are designated to the particular student and the price of each selection.

Tech's dining plans and rates (Hospitality Services) features the “Red and Black” dining plan, which comes in at a whopping price of $4,280 for a nine month period. This is only one of three plans, which include the Matador and Double T that are slightly cheaper with less dining dollars offered. 

This university is an educational system that should support and value students to the extent that food is made more available for those who might turn to food stamps or food pantries.

In regards to full-time students who do not always have time to work, this is a large sum to simply survive. Let's face it, eating several meals within the day is an absolute necessity and availability of reasonably priced food for collegiate students is not in high abundance as it should be. 

For those who do not own dining dollars, individual meals are quite expensive and definitely stack up throughout the week. 

According to the TTU campus dining guide, there is a key comparison where, for instance, Murdough (on-campus living/dining) requires $10 for a meal and that equates to a retraction of 5 dining bucks. 

These prices, in addition to other essentials such as gas, utilities, rent/living, clothing, etc., add up and, even with a part-time job, become difficult to accommodate for. 

As a student employee who works part-time (40 hrs/2 weeks), my pay stub is $9 an hour, which can sometimes be just the right amount to get around for a while; there are times though that I can barely afford a small meal on campus around all the other essentials in day-to-day life. 

If there are students who are struggling with this, a good option to turn to is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an ease-of-access food stamp program in Lubbock. 

“SNAP helps people buy the food they need for good health. People also can buy garden seeds with SNAP benefits,” according to the Texas Health and Human Services website. It is an effective way to save money and budget around food needs and then, ultimately, spend money beneficially. 

Though the initial results for meals can be highly priced, there are favorable alternatives that a student especially can turn to when they do not want to commit to a dining plan or they’re trying to compartmentalize their personal spending.

Tech provides healthy meals to students, but sometimes the issue is beyond that and pertains to financials or simplicity of access. Students should know about other available options for their dietary needs and that they exist not too far from their doorstep. 

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