A team in the Office of Student Affairs at the University of Georgia will be working hard over the next month to go through hundreds of applications for the “Let All the Big Dawgs Eat” Food Scholarship. Of all the applicants, only 50 will receive a scholarship for the seven-day meal plan at UGA dining halls starting this fall.
At UGA, a majority of what the school calls food insecure students are also in-state students. Though most come to college with scholarships from the HOPE program, these scholarships do not cover every expense, including food. UGA launched “Let All the Big Dawgs Eat” as a result three years ago. The program awards scholarships to fifty students each fall and spring. More than 1000 students apply for just 100 scholarships each year.
“Many students in their applications are saying food is the first thing they sacrifice because they think it is the one thing they can scale back on. The net effect of that though is that undernourished students are not going to perform as well academically,” said Don Reagin, Marketing and Communications Assistant to the Dean.
The scholarship provides students with the seven-day meal plan for a full year. At the dining hall, they have access to a wide variety of nutritional food, and the unlimited meal plan guarantees they can get exactly what they want and need to eat. For students who were starving themselves before, this scholarship is life-changing.
“I realize what a privilege it is to be able to work with people who are trying to make life better for our students and to create an environment on campus where nobody is going to be hungry because there is no reason for anyone to be hungry in this town,” said Reagin.
While there are still many students in need in the community and on campus, those working to help them are optimistic for the future. As the program grows, Reagin and his colleagues believe they will eventually be able to insure all students can learn without worrying about where their next meal is coming from.
By: Mary Carol Butterfield