Give hope, get hope.

In recent semesters, the issue of student hunger has risen to the forefront of concern here on the Maryville College campus. Articles have been written, programs like Swipes for Scots have been put in place, and MC students have stepped up to donate in an attempt to help their classmates. The progress MC has achieved in such a short period of time is nothing short of inspiring, but there is still more to do.

Our progress to date has been focused on students at MC, and rightfully so. However, this epidemic of hunger is a national one, and thus we must expand our network if we hope to make a true and lasting change. The Wisconsin Hope Lab is an organization/project which collects data relating to student hunger nationwide on a yearly basis before determining how they should continue the fight against campus hunger in the U.S.

Institutions nationwide are getting involved and helping the Wisconsin Hope Lab collect data in order to more quickly eradicate campus hunger nationwide. The Hope Lab survey is like many other data gathering techniques. It’s a list of simple questions designed specifically to gauge the need of students regarding hunger on their respective college campuses.

Having said that, this isn’t your average survey. The authors of the Hope Lab survey take great pride in its purpose and design. It is drafted in a way intended to prevent students from feeling ashamed or embarrassed by their situation, which is the primary reason students in need often don’t ask for help.

This simple yet carefully drafted design helps to separate the Hope Lab from others who are fighting campus hunger. They understand that in order to eradicate campus hunger, we must remove the embarrassment and negative stigma that students feel as a result of their predicament.

This should be MC’s next step. The process of becoming involved is fairly simple and would show that MC cares not only about the wellbeing of its own students, but all students. The way the program is set up, each student who participates would be given a complimentary Amazon gift card as compensation for being a part of a survey issued by the Wisconsin Hope Lab.

The Hope Lab requires that the school wanting to join pay for these gift cards and that funding serves as a “registration fee” of sorts, as there is no payment to the Hope Lab itself required. The Hope Lab’s primary concern in this policy is to assure that students who participate are compensated for doing so. The Hope Lab survey is entirely
confidential, aside from the issuer of the survey and gift cards, making participation an easy and beneficial affair.

Remember, if given the opportunity to participate in the survey, you will not only be compensated with a free gift card, but you will be helping to ensure that campus hunger will one day be a thing of the past.

Currently, a small group of students are working to gain MC entry into this program and fundraising for the required gift cards will begin shortly. Our participation will not only help gain national attention for MC, but it will also help our faculty and staff better gauge the level of immediate need on campus.

Due to the longterm impact and importance of this program, we need student engagement. If you or someone you know is in need or would like to help with this effort or for more information please contact any of the following: Andrew Kerr at [email protected], Arin Wyttenbach at [email protected] or Dr. Andrew Irvine at [email protected]

Many are fighting this fight, it’s time MC takes its place on the front lines.

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