What would the essence of this world feel like should we each choose to dedicate our thoughts and actions towards building a conscious, sustainable, and inclusive community? How would each of our living experiences unfold if we united with compassion, awareness, and the desire to implement positive change?
We as individuals, as human beings, have been gifted with the power of compassion, of purpose, of love and empathy. As students of the UMBC community, we have been given the opportunity to pursue a higher education in attainment of our personal visions and are destined to accomplish our goals--but at what cost?
At UMBC and hundreds of higher institutions across the nation, food insecurity is a social condition that drastically plagues the wellbeing and academic success of students. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by peers and professors, most of whom are simply unaware of the matter that food insecurity is a recurring issue, a vicious experience transcending the surface of societal concerns and visibility.
For many of us, food is a basic human need that is readily available and easily accessible. However, for others the choice between a meal and textbooks stands as the life-threatening cost of pursuing a higher education. A number of students in the UMBC community are faced with the threat of hunger on a daily basis, struggling to nurture their basic physiological needs.
Lack of access and availability to adequate, nourishing, and healthy foods can jeopardize their wellness and hinder their ability to thrive as individuals. With their basic human needs left unfulfilled and their hunger insatiable, students shift their focus from academics to the thought of when their next meal will be. No student, no human being, should ever have to live in fear of the notion that their lives will not surpass the state of their hunger.
Every student at UMBC and across the nation is entitled to their right to pursue an academic career and individual truth without constant worry of fulfilling the basic physiological need of hunger.
Retriever Essentials is a service organization at UMBC that exists as a catalyst for reducing food insecurity on campus and for bringing awareness to its effects on student success. We believe in co-creating a community of compassion, open-mindedness, and positive social influence.
As the end of the fall semester approaches and the holiday season begins, we kindly ask you to reflect upon your blessings, and to be understanding and mindful of the conditions that manifest in the lives of others.
We hope that you take the time to read the article by Julia Schmalz, as the stories shared within it are lived experiences of food insecurity that will expand your understanding of its implications on individual development.
The tribulations of our busy days may at times steal the very best of our gratitude and awareness. But if we choose to acknowledge concerns beyond our own, together we will cultivate a more compassionate community, manifest a positive vision, and implement transformative change that mirrors the goodness of the human heart.