UGA food scholarship helps students with financial needs


Story Highlights

  • Three UGA students receiving a food scholarship for the coming Spring semester
  • Scholarship made possible with donation from UGA alum Dr. Robin Hoover
  • UGA Student Affairs hopes scholarship will help raise awareness for food insecurity of students

Athens, GA— With college students across the country struggling to pay for food, UGA is taking a new approach to address the issue of food insecurity among some of its students.
The Let All the Big Dawgs Eat food scholarship is being awarded to three students with financial needs starting next Spring. The scholarship provides a 7-day meal plan for an entire semester, and it all started with the help of a donation from UGA alum, Dr. Robin Hoover.

“I gave some money just to start a few and then they put up stuff this past semester and opened it up for applications. So, that’s how I got started,” she says.

UGA Student Affairs is working with Hoover to give students this opportunity.

“I can’t imagine doing what you guys do on a daily basis. The classes, the studying, extracurriculars, all that and not having nourishment. And so it is just a basic need of life,” Dr. Hoover says.

UGA student David Ross is in financial need and says he would benefit from this type of scholarship. He is a full time student and also works full-time for the UGA Food Services at Tate.

David says, “It takes away from like your studying because you’re hungry.”

He knows firsthand the financial reality that college students face and feels it can at many times be overwhelming. Recent studies show that he is not the only one.

Food insecurity among college students has been brought to the attention of many administrators, due to the increase in tuition and living expenses. According to a recent survey done by the University of Oregon, 59 percent of the student population of Western Oregon University has recently experienced food insecurity. This is just one of several studies that shows an increase in hungry students, and the negative effects it has on their academic success.

UGA Food Services understands the importance of students having access to well-balanced meals. UGA Food Services Executive Director Brian Varin says the meal-plan offers fruits and vegetable dishes, hot meals, and everything in between.

“You have got to fuel your brain, you know, if you want to do well in class, and do well on your exams and your tests. Well, then I would like to think you’d need to be well fed in the process,” says Varin.

Over 20 students applied for the scholarship without  hardly any advertisement, which Hoover feels is a telling sign that food insecurity is a real issue, and there is a need for action.

“I was stunned that we needed this here. So, I wanted other people to be stunned that we needed it here,” Hoover says.

Initially, there were only going to be two scholarship recipients. However, after seeing the number of applicants, they are planning to extend the scholarship to a third student.

Applicants will find out this month whether or not they will receive the meal plan for the coming Spring semester. Students must be enrolled in 12 credit hours in order to keep the scholarship. At the end of the semester, the students will be asked to reflect on the impact the scholarship has had on their academic achievement.

Dr. Hoover and UGA Student Affairs plan on continuing to raise awareness about the issue and have hopes to increase the number of scholarship recipients in the future.

Filed in: Athens-Clarke County, News, Top Stories, UGA News

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