The Real College Survey
Across the nation, the Real College Survey started Fall 2019 ending October 31, and collected data from colleges such as Fort Lewis College. The survey is a national benchmark survey conducted by the Temple University Hope Center regarding food and shelter security for college students.
Student Body President Cody Stroup sent an email on Monday asking students to participate in the survey.
“They’re conducting a survey to see what students are facing, as far as challenges on campus,” Stroup said. “This is anything from food and shelter security to mental health, health in general.”
The results of the survey will then be shared with administration, who will use it to shape resources on campus, he said.
Jeffery Dupont, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, said he first heard about the initiative from a “state consortium,” or an association of representatives, for higher education in Colorado. They wanted to learn more about food and shelter security on campus.
Dupont said he attended a meeting with that state consortium about the need for awareness of the federally funded resources that are available to college students. At the meeting, Dupont said they spoke about how many students in Colorado are eligible for nutrition funding specifically, such as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
SNAP was previously known as food stamps. Not many students are aware that they may access this resource, he said.
Dupont and other representatives were asked to take the survey to their colleges. This way, there is a better understanding of what food insecurity looks like for college students in Colorado, he said.
Dupont said that he hopes that once he receives the survey results, he will have a better idea of where students basic needs are not being met so that he can work to provide appropriate resources.
The survey is expected to take about 15 minutes, but Stroup said that he finished in less than that amount of time.
There is a $100 incentive to be awarded to 10 survey respondents, he said.
If the college were to receive more resources as a result of the survey, it may come in the form of an outreach person on campus, Dupont said. This outreach person would dedicate their time to educating students about SNAP and the application process.
Dupont said the state approached him with this suggestion, and should the survey results demonstrate a need for such a resource, the state would provide funding for it.
Dupont will receive the results for FLC January 2020, and the results for the nation February 2020.
Stroup said that students will be affected because the results influence strategic changes made by the administration regarding the resources made available to students. In the near future, ASFLC will be conducting their own survey regarding student needs for the same reason, he said.
Resources Available Now
The resources currently avaiable include the Grub Hub, which serves one free hot meal a day and is open one day a week to give food away from their pantry, he said.
Students can be referred to SNAP resources at the Skyhawk Station. Students who are referred are put in contact with an outreach worker that walks students through the process of how to apply for SNAP, he said.
To be referred to the food bank, students may go to Title IX Coordinator Molly Wiser with student affairs or Academic Services Coordinator Emma Salazar with TRIO, Dupont said.
Dupont said he also recommends that students take advantage of Manna Soup Kitchen, which serves two hot meals a day. They also pack lunches for those who can’t make it to breakfast or lunch, he said.
Manna Soup Kitchen does not require any income verification, so students don’t need a referral, he said.
“People are willing to help without a lot of stipulations as to what you need to do to get the help,” Dupont said.