RAMS Against Hunger: More than just a food pantry

There is a common misconception regarding food insecurity among college students at Colorado State University, 29% of the student body is experiencing food insecurity in the last 30 days. 

This can be seen in a variety of ways, whether that is skipping one meal or not eating for a day. Students have become so indebted to their education that they have put aside their basic needs in order to attend universities such as Colorado State.

This does not need to be the case, however.

Basic Needs Program Manager Michael Buttram alluded to the food insecurity that is seen on our campus daily and the efforts that he and his team have been making to combat this trend. 

There is a reluctance from students to share that they are having food insecurities, something that is trying to be normalized. Buttram said this happens because “a lot of us have this scarcity mindset but that is absolutely false. In this country, we throw away 40% of the food we don’t use. Utilizing programs like this is what we should do.”

The programs at CSU and across the country are working to establish this change and normalize the ability to use these resources for good, without the stigmatism that often lingers. This is being actively addressed as: “A lot of what RAMS Against Hunger does is making sure that food is distributed equitably.” This not only diminishes the food waste that is being seen, but sets up programs that allow for students to receive the aid they need. 

Buttram also addressed the ideology behind what food in college is supposed to be and how you “should go hungry when you’re in college.” But if you reframe your thinking, “The responsible thing to do is to use these resources and get the help you need. College prices continue to go up and these resources are here for a reason.” 

Buttam works to support students and limit the amount of food that is being wasted daily. The staggering number of students that are experiencing food insecurity resembles a tendency to not accept. CSU is a school that is predicated on helping others and using your resources, so students should “not be forced to make a decision between not eating and getting an education. There is a way that we can accomplish both.” 

Basic needs for students is something that is often overlooked. There is a sense of gratitude for those that are able to attend Colorado State and other universities, but this should be secondary to taking care of oneself. We all know that Rams take care of Rams, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too. 

The RAMS Against Hunger Food Pantry will be moving locations to the General Services Building after a $400,000 renovation, leading to a full-time service for students at CSU. Services and adaptations such as this will be a momentous transition toward diminishing food insecurity among college students both at CSU and across the country. 

Rams looking for services for themselves or others experiencing food insecurity:

  • RAMS Against Hunger Food Pantry (LSC Room 140) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
  • Eight Pocket Pantry locations around campus (grab and go items)
  • Meal swipe program
  • Snap Benefits program
  • RAM Food Recovery Program

For more information regarding food insecurity and services, visit the SLiCE office in the LSC or visit lsc.colostate.edu/slice/community-engagement/rams-against-hunger.