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UVM Student Government Calls For On-Campus Food Pantry

Ethan Foleu, president of the UVM Student Government Association.
Ethan Foley, Courtesy
Ethan Foley is president of the UVM Student Government Association. He spoke with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb about the SGA's push for a food pantry on the UVM campus.

Students at the University of Vermont want to create an on-campus food pantry. The request followsa recent UVM survey showing that one in five undergraduate students at the university are not getting an adequate level of nutrition.

Ethan Foley, the president of UVM's Student Government Association, spoke with VPR recently about the SGA's push for a food pantry.

Listen above to the conversation with Ethan Foley and VPR's Mitch Wertlieb. You can also access the recentUVM Food Insecurity Report here.

Foley said he was surprised to find that one in five undergraduate students are food insecure.

"It's a staggering amount of students. ... We have almost 11,000 undergraduate students. And if you look at the numbers, 20 percent of that is over 2,000 students," he said. "That's over 2,000 students who are suffering from food insecurity and find that to be a challenge in their lives each and every week."

"That's over 2,000 students [at UVM] who are suffering from food insecurity and find that to be a challenge in their lives each and every week." — Ethan Foley, UVM's SGA president

Foley said food insecurity can be an issue in particular for students who live off campus and are struggling with increasing rental costs and the high price of school textbooks and other materials. He pointed to his own rent going up by $100 from the previous school year as an example of the high cost of living in off-campus housing in Burlington.

There is a food pantry in Burlington — the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf — but Foley said it's situated pretty far from campus and that students who need such services should be able to access them at UVM.

Foley has been calling for an on-campus food pantry since last fall, and he made his case for one before the UVM Board of Trustees at a recent meeting. Foley said he'll continue that effort for as long as it takes.

"Whether I'm in this role [as president of UVM's SGA] or not, I'll be on campus, because I'm a junior now so I've got another year and a half to make this happen and push for this," he said. "And we're not stopping anytime soon."

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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