The Post: The Hungry Bobcat Survey hopes to bring a student food pantry to Athens

Food means fuel for anyone pursuing a college education, but many Ohio University students are admitting they are running on empty.

After an increasing number of students told University counselors they were going hungry, OU’s Counseling and Psychological Services decided to conduct a survey to gauge the problem.

“It is often difficult for students to access services that are available to Athens County residents, particularly when the need is temporary,” Erika Gray, a clinical psychologist and outreach coordinator for the Counseling and Psychological Services, said in an email.

Early results of the Hungry Bobcat Survey suggest 35 percent of students have been without food at some point during their time at OU, Counseling and Psychological Services Social Work intern Katie Daniels said in an email.

About 6 percent of respondents reported that they do not have regular access to food, Gray said.

“It is very hard for students to be successful when they are hungry,” Gray said. “Food is not something that should be a barrier to student success.”

Gray and Daniels are exploring the possibility of establishing a food pantry on campus. This survey is a preliminary step in the process of creating one.

“The goal of this project is to decrease, ideally eliminate, food insecurity among Ohio University students,” Daniels said. “The Hungry Bobcat Survey will help us understand the need of our students in order to best serve them.”

Gray and Daniels did not say how many people took to the survey, but the number of respondents has been less than anticipated.

Students can participate in the survey until Feb. 14.

“We’ve had far fewer responses than we would have liked so far, but it may be because students are not aware that the survey is running,” Gray said. “So far, survey results support the need for an on-campus food pantry.”

Students who participate in the survey have the chance to win a raffle for a $25 Casa Nueva gift card.

This story also appears on The Post

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