It’s no secret that students can struggle with money.
Having enough money to pay for food and rent can be difficult for college and university students.
Sheridan Confessions, a Facebook group where students can post anonymously, regularly sees students sharing their worries about the cost of food.
A 2017 study shows that about 18 percent of Canada’s homeless were young adults.
Seventeen percent of Canadians who used food banks in 2016 were between the ages of 18 and 30.
What is the Sheridan Student Union doing to help hungry students get a cheap, healthy meal?
“We try to keep prices down while providing the best products we can,” Dan Casey, the senior manager of operations and hospitality for the SSU, wrote in an e-mail interview.
The SSU has control over the pricing of the menus at The Marquee, Coffee Loft and Booster Juice at the Trafalgar campus.
“Each summer we analyze all of our menus and measure sales, margins, etc. We use the best performing items as the core of the menu and round out other options from there,” he added.
The SSU also tries to offer food that works for people with different diets.
“We try to focus on simple ingredients and to limit the amount of processed product coming in. There are several items on our menus that hit different dietary preferences as well. Such as our vegan sloppy joes, plant-based protein offerings, and several gluten-free items,” said Casey.
Chartwells is the company that oversees the cafeteria at the Trafalgar campus.
The options in the cafeteria include: The Chef’s Corner, Harvey’s, Subway, Thai Express, Pizza Pizza, and the Tim Horton’s locations around campus.
Outlets like Subway and Harvey’s offer full meal options, but they are not the healthiest choices.
Since the fast-food chains in the cafeteria are owned by Chartwells there is no input from the SSU on food prices, or how healthy the food should or can be.
However, the student union has low-cost meal options for students worried about their budget.
“Our all-day breakfast options in the pub offer a pretty good value. Our daily features vary depending on the day of the week. These are usually discounted menu options on specific days like cheap burgers on Mondays, cheap mac and cheese on Tuesdays, and so on. Breakfast bagels in the Coffee Loft are also a good value as a grab and go option, ” added Casey.
Food security is something that students often worry about.
In the United States, food insecurity for college students has gone up 30% since 2009.
In Canada, many students experience food insecurity, as well.
The SSU offers a program called “food first” which allows students to pick up a bag of free groceries once a month from the SSU office.
The program is offered at all campuses.
This kind of effort gives less well-off students a chance to eat healthy food at home.
This can help save money, and reduce food insecurity for students.
Evidence shows that eating healthy food is linked to academic success.
When people eat well, they perform better.